The city of Austin Housing Department closed Friday on $74.5 million in construction financing for the development of city-owned land in East Austin. In partnership with the NHP Foundation, Capital A Housing, and the Austin Housing Finance Corporation, the city is developing Seabrook Square I — a 204-unit multifamily complex at 3511 and 3515 Manor Road, now addressed as 2210 Pershing Drive.
The community will include an arts hub focused on Black-led nonprofits and small businesses including artist incubator Raasin in the Sun, preservation group Six Square, and a black-owned café and community space Origin Studio House. Construction for Phase I is set to start in October 2023. Phase II is planned to start in 2024. Both phases are scheduled to be complete in 2026.
“Seabrook Square I is a unique opportunity where we can ensure economic diversity of residents in an affordable, creative development providing over 200 new-construction apartments,” the housing department's Rosie Truelove said in a press release. “We are excited to see a full community vision that includes gathering spaces, s resilience hub, a public plaza, and support for cultural arts organizations.”
Seabrook Square is in the J.J. Seabrook neighborhood and named after John Jarvis Seabrook, a Black educator, pastor, and well-known community leader in Austin. Seabrook was president of Huston-Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson University) from 1955 to 1965. The Seabrook development is intended to be an inclusive community that will "harmonize with the current resources and cultural history," acording to a city press release.
Seabrook Square will be developed in two phases, with the first phase, Seabrook Square I apartments will have one five-story and one four-story building, with 204 affordable for households earning at or below 60 percent of median family income. It will also include 10 live-work-residence-studios reserved for East Austin artists. Seabrook Square II will have 60 units of permanent supporting housing.
The development will have a long-term ground lease with AHFC through which the land will continue to be publicly owned. The site will include a private courtyard for the supportive-housing development and a public plaza available to all residents and the surrounding neighborhood. Trauma-informed design, durability, and long-term ownership were critical factors in the selection of materials and systems for the building as well as key design features throughout the community.
The Austin Housing Finance Corporation's partners on the first phase are the National Housing Partnership Foundation, nonprofit real estate corporation based in New York, and Austin affordable housing group Capital A Housing.
Seabrook Square I is financed by a $40 million tax-exempt bond issued by the City of Austin, $3.4 million in Citibank construction bridge debt, $32.3 million in low-income housing credit equity investment syndicated by Boston Financial, and $13.5 million in Austin Housing Finance Corporation subordinate debt financing through rental housing development assistance.
Seabrook Square II will be developed by Integral Care and Capital A Housing and financed separately.