WAXAHACHIE

The Palladium Senior Living center is a few short months away from becoming a reality in northern Waxahachie.

But first, the developers need approval for a tax credits application, as well as the required zoning for the complex development.

The Palladium Senior Living center is a planned 180-space development that would be constructed on 6.67 acres of undeveloped land west of North Highway 77, just north of the Life Waxahachie High School. The proposed development would be a three-story building with 60 percent one-bedroom units and 40 percent two-bedroom units. Site amenities include a game room, movie theater, fitness center, jogging trail, dog park, gazebo and BBQ area and a pool, among other features.

Resident Tom Kaminski used to live in Waxahachie for about 25 years, but now lives in a similar Palladium development in Dallas. He said the people there are just as outstanding as the site itself is.

"I've been there for over a year now," Kaminski remarked. "They let us get involved with activities, make suggestions, they encourage us to run our own programs. They treat us like adults."

Kaminski visited the Waxahachie City Council meeting on Monday to speak in support of the development and its request on a zoning change from Light Industrial-1 to Planned Multiple-Family Development. Kaminski expressed that Palladium brought a high-quality senior housing development into Dallas and Waxahachie could benefit from a similar property in its city limits.

"Senior housing is something that is desperately needed not just in Waxahachie, but across the whole area," Kaminski remarked. "They'd be an asset to the Waxahachie area. I'd even consider moving back here if they do build one down here."

However, city staff and the council had a few concerns regarding the Palladium Senior Center. For one thing, the zoning ordinance requires that buildings in multifamily zoning not exceed 200 feet in length. Preliminary designs show the Senior Center at 290 feet, which planning director Shon Brooks stated is a problem.

Then there's the development's parking situation. The zoning ordinance requires at least half of the minimum off-street parking spaces to be attached in fully-enclosed garages. Brooks stated the developer is proposing less than that.

"Typically, you see the garage is on the first floor with the residents above," Brooks explained. "They haven't met that. They have included 16 external detached garages, which is not sufficient to what our ordinance requires."

The Waxahachie City Council previously approved a support resolution in October that enabled the Senior Living Center to apply for tax credits from the Texas Department of Housing for its development. The company intends to utilize $15 million in housing tax credits to construct the development.

The developers are currently awaiting approval for the tax credits application from the state. Waxahachie Mayor Kevin Strength questioned whether it made more sense to approve the rezoning now or later when their funding is secured.

"We're not against Palladium coming down here to build senior housing – we encourage that," Strength remarked. "But we already have a lot of multifamily that is already here. The issue here is not that we don't want the apartments here. We just want them to meet our standards."

Palladium CEO Tom Huth stated the council had valid concerns regarding their development and stated they could continue to work with the staff as they wait for the results of the tax credit application.

"What I'm hearing is what if we approve your multifamily zoning tonight, and you can't afford it?" Huth questioned. "That's a legitimate concern. We're trying to make this right. We're going to make it right."

Huth stated that the developers should hear back from the state over the summer. The city council approved a continuance for the development's public hearing to August 5.

Meanwhile, Kaminski is going to continue enjoying living at Palladium's other senior center in Dallas – and expressing others to support its development.

"I can get you 60 people on a waiting list right now," Kaminski chuckled.

If approval for its tax credit application goes through, the Palladium Senior Living Center will begin construction later this year.