Five new homes being built near 34th and Winnie streets in Galveston are part of a wider plan Galveston housing officials hope will revitalize neighborhoods once sparsely populated.
The Galveston Housing Finance Corp. on Monday unveiled five homes under construction on Winnie Street that will eventually be sold at below-market prices to homeowners who have some financing options, said Patricia Bolton-Legg, president for the corporation’s board.
The housing corporation purchased the land in 2014, which had been the site of a nightclub before Hurricane Ike in 2008, to build the homes, Bolton-Legg said. The surrounding neighborhood has historically been more industrial with its proximity to Harborside Drive and has empty lots scattered throughout, she said.
In recent years, the Galveston Housing Authority, a separate entity, oversaw the building of The Cedars at Carver Park, a mixed-income development a few blocks away.
“We want to create a neighborhood feel here,” Bolton-Legg said. “When you have a neighborhood it creates other benefits; there’s less crime and people look out for each other.”
As real estate prices on the island climb, the addition of moderately priced homes could help encourage some public sector workers, such as police officers and teachers, for instance, to move to the island where they work, Bolton-Legg said.
Once built, the homes will be eligible for sale to families with a household income between $31,746 and $57,200 annually, according to the corporation. The families had not yet been selected, she said.
Homeowners will need to provide their own financing, but can qualify for different programs offering down payment and closing cost assistance, she said.
Similar houses — built to sell below-market value to eligible homeowners — exist around the island, Bolton-Legg said. The city-sponsored Galveston Housing Finance Corp. has worked on similar projects, including at Barton Square, where the corporation built more than 40 homes in the early 2000s, she said.
The housing corporation was created by the city council but gets its funding from federal sources, not city taxes, according to the corporation. It’s not considered a city board, but the city council appoints members to the housing corporation board.
In 2016, the corporation contracted with Sullivan Land Services construction company to be the contractor for the project, Bolton-Legg said. The houses are slated for completion by April, she said.