RED OAK – During a special called meeting last week, members of the city’s council passed a resolution supporting a development agreement between the city and Highland Property Development.

Highland came to the city seeking the agreement as a part of its application for tax credits and funding of a rehabilitation of a Red Oak low income housing project, Vermillion Square I and II and the Western Oaks Apartments.

In its proposal, Highland sought a joint application including the city of Red Oak to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The application is for 2010 Housing Tax Credits and HOME Investment Partnership Program funds to finance a portion of the acquisition and rehabilitation of the property.

Two hurdles to get the project off the ground include getting the approval for the tax credit through TDHCA and approval from the USDA Rural Development program to extend an existing loan.

“There is currently an existing loan on the property we would like to assume as well as an existing rental as sistance program in place,” Bill Rice of Highland said.

Pending approval of the two government agencies, Highland has proposed to the city a master plan for the complex.

“We have been very busy over the last 10 days working out the agreement between the city and Highland, with both parties coming to an agreement,” City Manager Tim Kelty told the council.

Outlining the plans for the 119-unit complex, Kelty described the renovations and improvement to the site.

The plans include complete interior renovations to all the units. Additional outside renovations include brick siding to the buildings facing public roadways. Landscaping will be added, including the planting of several trees.

Security will be improved with the complex becoming a gated community with security gates, security lighting and video monitoring cameras.

“This will provide a much more stable atmosphere,” Kelty said, describing the security measures.

Kelty also told the council all current residents and any future resident will be screened for criminal background.

“No persons with a felony record or a registered sex offender will be allowed to live there,” Rice said. 

According to Rice, the acquisition of the property and following renovations are dependent on Highland receiving both the tax credit and being allowed to assume the present loan. Given Highland receiving both, Rice projected a fourth quarter 2010 closing with construction beginning within 30 days of closing.

Doug Day, also of Highland, said the construction is estimated to take between nine months and a year.

“We are shooting for no more than the nine months,” Day said, saying Highland will try its best to minimize the impact of the project on current residents.