Troubled Patriot's Crossing Development "Back at Ground Zero" After HUD Denies Funding

Categories: Housing

PatriotsCrossingRender.JPG
On paper, Patriot's Crossing is still going to be a pleasant, 162-unit development on Lancaster Road offering military veterans affordable housing with easy access to the VA Medical Center. The problem -- one of them, anyway -- is that the generously subsidized project is can't seem to make the jump into physical being.

The latest in the ongoing saga, which has already raised plenty of concerns about city housing policy (a $4.5 million "forgivable" loan?), is that developer Yigal Lelah can't get HUD to provide the loan he needs to finance the project.

That's what he told the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, anyway. Agency spokesman Gordon Anderson says that Lelah (or maybe his attorney, Claire Palmer) told them that "HUD denied their application for funding due to a lack of demand in the market."

That contrasts with the TDHCA's determination that there is sufficient demand and Dallas' endorsement of Patriot's Crossing, once to receive 9 percent tax credits then, when that application was denied, for 4 percent.

We emailed Lelah and left a voicemail with Palmer on Friday afternoon to discuss. Nothing yet.

Lelah passed along this response on Monday afternoon:

We immediately appealed HUD's determination that there is a lack of demand in the market and have provided HUD with several independent market studies that show high demand for new affordable housing in the area. In the meantime, we have talked to several private lenders and have a lot of interest from private lenders to either make a construction loan or buy the bonds through private placement if HUD denies our appeal. It is our preference to use a HUD secured loan if possible as interest rates would be more appealing for a low income housing project. In regard to TDHCA, we willfile a new application expeditiously, based on the timing required for both bonds and 4% tax credit applications. Since we have most of the required documentation completed from our previous application we should be able to cut the delay time in half. This is still a wonderful and needed project for Southern Dallas and our veterans.

In any case, the "why" doesn't really matter. The important point is that it means Lelah won't be able to meet the state's April 13 deadline for accessing $13 million in tax-exempt bonds. (The project's structure is explained here on Page 183 but essentially involves paying off the bonds with money from the HUD loan). Which in turns means that, unless he digs very deeply into some as-yet-undisclosed pocket, he doesn't have the cash to actually build Patriot's Crossing.

According to Anderson, Lelah plans to appeal HUD's decision. But even if the agency changes its mind, he will have to restart the TDHCA process over again, which will mean a lengthy delay.

"They are essentially back at ground zero," Anderson says.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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29 comments
JesusIsMexiCAN
JesusIsMexiCAN

Why not build housing near Meadow and 75 where people actually want to live?

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

Hey Eric-Call Vonciel Hill before she runs into her underground bunker with Mary Suhm and get her reaction to this.

WylieH
WylieH

As Patrick Kennedy has pointedly asked, why the hell were they planning to build this expensive skybridge?  Why not just fix the streetscape so it can accommodate real human pedestrians? 

WylieH
WylieH

Is Mike Sugrue, the prominent North Dallas homebuilder who was recently named Developer of the Year still involved with this deal?

Greg820
Greg820

There IS a high quality, mixed use development going up right next to PC.  It was done above board, with appropriate i's dotted and t's crossed.  PC does not pass the smell test and never did.  It was designed to put money in pockets and in that it has succeeded greatly.

jmckee3
jmckee3

Who is this supposed to appeal to exactly? Veterans so severely disabled that living as close as possible to the hospital drives their housing choices? VA employees? Then narrow that group down to people interested in living in a small development without much shopping or entertainment around it when their ultimate destination is easily accessible by light rail by numerous more developed neighborhoods. And even if we are being relatively optimistic and say VA employees that earn relatively comfortable salaries how many want to live right next to the VA? There is no one I know that I can think of that wants to live right next to their office unless their office is located in an already very appealing residential neighborhood like Uptown or Downtown. And I'm including attorney friends that work insane hours, easily accessible yes but not across the street. And it makes perfect sense, even though most of your time is in your workplace the last thing you want to think about outside of it is work, even if that means commuting a bit every day.


This is a dud, it is obviously a dud but throw veterans in with Dallas's hard on to replicated Uptown everywhere and a project that obviously doesn't make much sense gets out of hand.

brock81
brock81

Looks like HUD is finally waking up regarding this housing corruption in Dallas. They knew to stay away from this shady deal............


I wonder what is going to be exposed now that they cant use HUD funds to bury all the sins??? Instead of the evidence getting buried for no one to see, its going to decay out in the open........


Nice to see that HUD is not going to be part of the "cover up", or "bury up."   

tdkisok
tdkisok

I love how Americans support the US military with little magnetic ribbons on their cars but we can't treat them right after they serve. 

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Just because this person didn't doesn't meant the next person wont.

With the right Dallas hand shake I bet that ownership group will.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@WylieH It is for veterans is it not?  Many of them are disabled now, missing limbs, partially or fully blind, etc etc.  Perhaps, in a rare turn, the developer had some compassion for the people the dwellings are intended for.  I wouldn't want to cross 6 lanes of Lancaster plus the two DART rails in a wheelchair, would you?

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

@WylieH Better yet, Eric needs to tell us more about Vernon Smith Jr. That's a "golden opportunity" to really piss off City Hall and the DCC.

brock81
brock81

@Greg820  


If true, people should be going to jail over this! 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@jmckee3 What about veterans who might need in-home care?  Or need to be very close to the hospital due to continuing complications needing emergency care?  There is a valid reason for this project, regardless of the motivations of the developer and designers.

Everyone seems ready to write this off as a bad idea, like veterans might not need a place to live close to the hospital.  But right, this is UP, they're just veterans, to hell with 'em.  They probably vote republican anyways, right?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@tdkisok

If you want to show actual support for veterans, don't you think it would be best to put any public monies into the VA, its facility or services it provides, rather than a for-profit private real estate venture?

jmckee3
jmckee3

@tdkisok  While your general point stands giving a private developer money for a risky for-profit business has little to do with supporting veterans.

Bremarks
Bremarks

Have you ever heard of crosswalks?  

wcvemail
wcvemail

@RTGolden1 @WylieH  
Point taken, but I wouldn't want to depend on a pie-in-the-sky promise that devolves into just a street-level crossing with an extra caution light (remember solar-powered water taxis in certain drawings?)

And what about the skywalk permitting time, then construction time, then repair time if something goes wrong like cracks in the concrete (e.g., Allen H.S. stadium). If you or I were a wheelchair-bound vet who moved in, predicated on the promise of a passageway on the premises (sorry), then found ourselves stuck with a new lease and the same old street crossing, that would be devastating.

Biglar
Biglar

@mavdog @tdkisok  I'd say if you want to help veterans, you help veterans by giving them money, rather than throwing money down the rat hole that is the VA.

tdkisok
tdkisok

@jmckee3


Sure it does. Look at the overall support for vets when they are done. Even the GOP who loves to send them into battle always stops bill in Congress to provide them with services. 


Bremarks
Bremarks

@RTGolden1 @Bremarks  For that kind of money, you can design the greatest crosswalks in the world where anyone has plenty of time to cross the street.  

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Bremarks have you ever tried to negotiate 6 lanes of traffic on a busy south dallas thoroughfare, with two DART rails in the middle, a flagged turn median, while trying to beat the clock in a wheelchair?


Have much compassion?

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Biglar  
Remember, this isn't about the VA. It's about a real estate venture that happens to be next to the VA, and piggy-backs on it, but it does not fund or otherwise benefit the VA in any way.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@wcvemail You are probably making a more accurate assessment of the reality that would unfold than I am.  I don't give two shits about most of what gets written about here, so I can comment somewhat dispassionately, but on this subject I do tend to get worked up.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@RTGolden1 @wcvemail  

Good on ya, shipmate (regardless of your svc branch), and there's absolutely no snark when I say that. We're in complete agreement.

The Dallas devil is in the details, though. From what I've seen, the number of handicapped-accessible and affordable-housing units dwindles quite a bit from design to construction in these projects. The initially large number of such units seems only to secure the grants and favorable financing. Same with the access skywalk -- would we end up with just another traffic light and a couple of Caution signs, but at the cost of the fancy skywalk?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@wcvemail While I agree with you on the nature of this particular project and it's Eau du Dallas, the idea of the facility is not, of itself a bad one, nor is it un-needed.  Not a disabled vet, but a vet who nonetheless uses the VA, and I can see a need for this among some of the vets who are wheelchair bound, blinded, needing some sort of hospice care and the like.  For those, it can be terribly arduous getting to the VAMC a 8:00am for lab work, catching the shuttle to a satellite clinic to see Primary, back for lab work, back to Primary, then back to VAMC to pick up prescriptions.

The first time I went through that, I drove back and forth.  Now I take the shuttles and volunteer to help those needing assistance.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@tdkisok @jmckee3  
As a genuinely disabled vet, I say your comment is just a cousin to "it's for the children" in regards to DISD corruption. This has NOTHING to do with expediting veteran claims, the #1 issue facing veterans today. It has NOTHING to do with the quality of health care in VA facilities, which is probably #2 (Hep-C due to unsterilized surgical instruments, more.) It has NOTHING to do with VA admin rigging the stats in their favor to justify ludicrous bonuses, which is being investigated by Congress.

It has EVERYTHING to do with localized, ill-conceived, insider-connected, smells-of-corruption, unrealistic business.


I genuinely appreciate the sentiment, tdkisok, but it's misplaced in this case.

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