Richcrest Wins CoStar’s Development of the Year Award in Houston

Overhead drone photo of Richcrest Apartments.

AMTEX’s Richcrest Apartments received the CoStar Impact Award 2023 for Development of the Year in Houston. Richcrest Apartments is a new 288-unit affordable rental housing community with a mix of apartments for low-income individuals and families earning between 30% and 60% of the Area Median Income.

AMTEX partnered with the City of Houston and the Harris County Community Services Department to bring this affordable housing community to life. The development was made possible via private investments and the help of federal disaster recovery funding made available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for recovery from Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Harvey and other recent storms destroyed 3,000 housing units in the Houston area.

We also partnered with YMCA and provided them with space and resources on-site to so they can offer after-school enrichment programming, classes and supportive services to residents.

Richcrest Apartments is serving families and their needs by providing high-quality, affordable housing with modern amenities and on-site services. All apartments offer contemporary living for residents. Amenities include balconies with patios overlooking the shared outdoor space and modernized kitchens and bathrooms to provide the most comfortable living environment for families.

Read more about Richcrest Apartments’ win of the CoStar award here.

The Lee Apartments Broke Ground in Fort Worth

Opal Lee turning dirt with a shovel at The Lee groundbreaking ceremony.

The Lee Apartments celebrated its official groundbreaking on March 9, 2023. The project is named in honor of Opal Lee, activist and mother of Juneteenth.

Located in an open lot near Fort Worth’s Alliance Airport, next to a sister property, The Holston, The Lee is planned as a 399-unit apartment complex and is the sixth affordable housing property developed by AMTEX and Fort Worth Housing Solutions (FWHS) in the city of Fort Worth. 

Ms. Lee stole the show with her powerful message of personal triumph.

AMTEX President Arjun Nagarkatti also delivered remarks at the ceremony. We’re honored to work alongside Fort Worth Housing Solutions and Interbank to bring this project to life.

Read more about the project’s groundbreaking ceremony at this link.

What’s Next for the Capital Markets

Artist's rendering of Somis Ranch Apartments

Affordable housing stakeholders assess the coming year.

Many of the issues that have been vexing affordable housing developers will remain into early 2023, with hopes that financial conditions will gradually improve as the year goes on. Rising interest rates, escalating construction costs, and a slowing economy continue to be the key concerns as a tumultuous 2022 turns into a new year.

Bank of America has provided $228 million in construction lending and equity investment to support AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc. in financing Somis Ranch Farmworker Housing Community, a 360-unit affordable multifamily community for low-income farmworkers and their families in unincorporated Ventura County, California. In addition to building an energy-efficient community and providing impactful resident services at no cost to the residents, AMCAL will build a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility to serve the project in this remote location.

Read the full story in Affordable Housing Finance magazine.

New affordable housing units in Greenspoint, need still growing

Artist's rendering of Richcrest Apartments
HOUSTON – New affordable housing units just opened in Greenspoint, creating more homes in a desperate shortage of affordable housing in the Houston area, but the need is growing once again, as inflation is pushing rent and home prices out of reach for many. “I was actually looking into homes when I was living in a two-bedroom, and the prices were too high,” said Pamela Maradiaga, a mother of two. “I looked at apartments, and they wanted $1,700 for a two-bedroom. I got a two-bedroom here and I like it,” said Ross Holmes. Tenants are finding relief from rising rent and home prices in the new Richcrest Apartments in Greenspoint which has 288 units of affordable housing for households earning between 30% and 60% of the area’s median income. Read more of the story at this link.

AMCAL’s Latest Student Housing Project Wins Top Award

The Grad San Jose exterior view of corner of student housing building

The Grad San Jose took the award for the top student housing community at the Multifamily Executive Award competition in September 2022 in Las Vegas. Read about The Grad in MFE Magazine here.

The Grad is a new, off-campus, purpose-built student housing community designed specifically to serve students of San José State University located in the heart of Silicon Valley. The Grad is a 19-story mixed-use residential tower adjacent to a 4-story parking garage topped with an expansive recreation deck.  The tower’s ground floor encompasses approximately 14,750 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a main residential lobby facing campus, a 24-7 management office, and abundant secured bicycle parking.  On floors 2 through 4, The Grad lavishes its residents with student-focused amenities including: a three-quarter-acre landscaped amenity deck that offers a resort-style swimming pool and outdoor spa, BBQs and picnic area, and a Jumbotron for game days and movie nights. A 24-hour, state-of-the-art fitness center opens onto this vibrant resident oasis. 

Students also enjoy complimentary high-speed internet and cable, private and shared study lounges on every floor, business center/computer lab, coffee cafe, fitness-on-demand, spin, and yoga studio, multipurpose rooms with white boards and monitors for practicing presentations, a penthouse level sky deck with views of the campus and San Jose’s downtown, and three high-speed elevators. Residential units are located on floors 3 through 19.  The fully furnished apartment-style suites offer studio, two-, three-, and a many four-bedroom floor plans, most with bed-to-bath parity.    

Located one block from the University’s main entrance, the Grad is in the path of the campus’ future growth plans. It also helps fulfill the City of San Jose’s long-range conceptual program for revitalizing the Downtown by allowing high density infill development and the replacement of underutilized sites.  The Grad replaces an abandoned restaurant that stood dormant for years, and now majestically welcomes students into its vibrant, urban space.  As a transit-oriented development, the new community is increasing public transit ridership on the local VTA Light Rail and regional BART.    

The Grad’s striking high-rise design and unprecedented abundance of amenities is unique in San Jose’s urban center.  The community is the first high-rise student housing building and among the very few built in the U.S.  The Grad San Jose won: PCBC’s 2021 Gold Nugget Award for Best Student Housing, Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 2019 Award for Best Market Rate Residential Project, and received attention from the Silicon Valley Business Journal for being the 8th largest construction project in San Jose. 

The building’s L-shaped footprint takes full benefit of the site, with the main lobby nearest to the campus entry and the south-facing courtyard cradling the spacious outdoor amenity deck for optimal solar orientation.  The building design concept is an intersection of two volumes (one more solid with metal panels and punched windows, the other more transparent, with a checkerboard window wall) which reinforces the importance of the corner as the two planes slide through one another.  There is a well-lit pedestrian base activated with commercial space and the double volume residential lobby close to campus creating a strong corner presence with the use of unique building materials.  The articulated tower façade is crowned with 10-foot-high uplit blades that change colors every evening.   The parking structure is curtained by a floating semitransparent perforated metal screen which provides a public art element.  The design of the art screen is echoed in the design of the building lobby, where the interior aesthetic is clean and sophisticated, incorporating natural tones accented with pops of orange and blue.

The Grad provides its residents with abundant opportunities to socialize or to find quiet for studying. Residential spaces are designed for small social groups with a focus on outdoor areas and amenities that allow residents to connect while maintaining social distancing.  Private study rooms and larger team rooms dot each residential floor. Most floor plans are designed to give students their own private bedrooms and bathrooms.  

The Grad’s location is ideal for walking to campus, transit and the venues of downtown, including eateries, coffee shops and event venues in the surrounding arts and cultural district. But without leaving the property there is literally something for everyone at the Grad—an exercise center, a swimming pool with sundeck and barbecue areas, sports courts, picnic area, community space for activities, lush landscaping, unmatched academic amenity space, and the list goes on—all within the urban center of San Jose.

In addition to the benefits of its urban location and proximity to campus, The Grad features plenty of indoor and outdoor activity space, secured garage parking, an open-air sky deck, ground level retail and restaurants, state-of-the-art fitness center, spin and yoga studio with Fitness-on-Demand classes, resort-style pool and outdoor spa, a picnic area with BBQs, an outdoor deck Jumbotron for college games and movies, a large multi-purpose room, private and group study rooms on each floor with white boards and monitors, a business center/computer lab, secure bike storage, and free Wi-Fi and cable throughout the community. 

AMCAL Named 6th Top Affordable Housing Developer

Las Ventanas apartments playground area with children and adult

Affordable Housing Finance Magazine published its top 50 affordable housing developers list in May 2021, and AMCAL came in at #6 in the nation having 1,514 construction starts in 2020, and an anticipated 687 completions.

According to AHF, affordable housing developers were able to continue building, despite all the uncertainties and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. AMCAL was one of them. AHF also reported that while posting impressive numbers, developers faced extraordinary challenges during the pandemic, from delays in construction to increased deal scrutiny, from all-time high lumber prices to rent delinquencies across their portfolios. In addition, they were called on to meet the increasing needs of their residents.

AMCAL is proud to have been building affordable housing for more than 40 years, and is still going strong with an impressive pipeline of projects under construction and under development in 2022.

AMCAL Wins Grand Award for Student Housing Community

The Grad San Jose front elevation of a tall building

AMCAL won the Grand Award for best student housing or faculty housing in the 2021 PCBC Gold Nugget Award competition.

The PCBC Gold Nugget Awards are the oldest and most prestigious design awards in the nation, recognizing those who build and improve communities through exceptional concepts in design, planning and development. The winners are selected by a panel of top industry experts who reviewed nearly 600 entries. The winners showcase the most exciting trends in design, planning and building.

PCBC is the largest home building tradeshow in the Western United States and is dedicated to advancing the art, science and business of housing. Sponsored by the California Building Industry Association and endorsed by the Leading Builders of America—whose membership includes many of the largest public and private home builders in the country

The Grad is a new, off-campus, purpose-built student housing community designed specifically to serve students of San José State University located in the heart of Silicon Valley. The Grad is a 19-story mixed-use residential tower adjacent to a 4-story parking garage topped with an expansive recreation deck. The Grad’s striking high-rise design and unprecedented abundance of amenities is unique in San Jose’s urban center.  The community is the first high-rise student housing building and among the very few built in the U.S.  The Grad San Jose won Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 2019 Award for Best Market Rate Residential Project and received attention from the Silicon Valley Business Journal for being the 8th largest construction project in San Jose ranked by square feet. 

PCBC judges reaction to The Grad: “WOW, wish I lived in a college dorm like that! Amongst top contenders in this category, the architecture was interwoven into the fabric of the downtown environment of mid-to-high rise buildings. Without compromising the integrity of the use and purpose, dorm rooms and amenity areas have a ‘resort-hotel’ vibe. A place where you would not miss being away from home.”

AMCAL affordable housing expert participates on western U.S. regional panel

Photo of Darin Hansen

Our VP of Forward Planning and Entitlements, Darin Hansen, participated in a developer/owner panel addressing the state of affordable housing development in the western U.S. region hosted by Western Real Estate Business. The panel addressed questions surrounding: “What is the outlook for the affordable housing sector in the western states?”

You can access a recording of the panel discussion on the Western Real Estate Business website.

Las Ventanas in Long Beach, CA, strives for LEED Platinum Certification

Artist's rendering of Las Ventanas

Las Ventanas Features Affordable Family Apartments, Close Proximity to the Blue Line, and is striving for LEED Platinum Certification

AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc., a national leader in the development of affordable housing, is about to complete construction on Las Ventanas Apartments, an affordable mixed-use housing development near the Blue Line stop on Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach, California, that is striving to be certified as LEED Platinum.

Las Ventanas, located at 1795 Long Beach Blvd., features 102 apartments with 1, 2 and 3-bedrooms affordable to individuals and families earning between 20% to 80% of the area median income (AMI). LA County’s “Homes for Health” program has reserved apartments for 15 special needs homeless households.

Las Ventanas sits on a 1.01–acre site with a four-story building and includes street-level commercial space. The community’s transit-accessible location and infrastructure improvements provide residents access to public transportation, parks, markets, education institutions and retail, which are all located within short distances.

The community is striving for LEED Platinum certification. LEED for Homes is a national, voluntary, rating system administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). USGBC is a non-profit that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green buildings and encourages the adoption of sustainable practices. LEED-certified homes are more durable, use less energy and water, and provide improved indoor air quality resulting in reduced utility bills and increased occupant comfort.

For a project to earn LEED for Homes certification, it must meet requirements in eight different environmental qualities: 1) Sustainable sites, 2) Water efficiency, 3) Energy and atmosphere, 4) Materials and resources, 5) Indoor environmental quality, 6) Locations and linkages, 7) Awareness and education, and 8) Innovation in design.

The Las Ventanas community exceeds California’s Energy Efficient Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings which is enhanced by Solar Thermal for Domestic Hot Water, Solar PV and Energy Star lighting and Bathroom fans. Each kitchen is being furnished with a stove-oven and a garbage disposal. To help residents minimize expenses, AMCAL has installed ENERGY STAR® appliances including a refrigerator and a dishwasher. All apartments have a patio or balcony for private outdoor space, storage, and modern amenities for living.

To improve indoor air quality, AMCAL used interior paint with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Apartment interiors include modern vinyl Floor Score® planking and carpeting in bedrooms. AMCAL used the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label low-VOC carpet, pad and adhesive, which help to reduce VOCs and emissions, and contribute to the growing use of recycled content for building materials.

To reduce water usage, xeriscape landscaping with a managed irrigation system was planted, and low-flow water toilets, faucets and showerheads were installed.

For more information on LEED for Homes and USGBC, visit USGBC’s website.

Some of the green features unique to the community are:

  • 75% of construction waste diverted from landfills
  • 5% of total parking area dedicated to low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles
  • High-efficiency fixtures and ENERGY STAR® appliances
  • High-efficiency irrigation system
  • Low-VOC emitting paints and flooring
  • Low-flow interior water fixtures and toilets

“Las Ventanas’ high quality look and design will contribute to improving the neighborhood and provide much needed affordable family housing to the community,” said Percival Vaz, CEO of AMCAL. “We are excited to unveil Las Ventanas with its many environmentally sustainable features and look forward to its positive contribution to the Long Beach community.”