Fairstead, a purpose-driven, vertically integrated real estate company committed to sustainable development and the creation and preservation of high-quality housing, today announced the acquisition of the historic Aurora Apartments (Aurora) tower in the Tobin Hill neighborhood of San Antonio. Located at 509 Howard Street, the 11-story building comprises 105 apartments that are home to low-income senior residents. Fairstead will invest $15 million to rehabilitate Aurora Apartments while preserving Aurora's affordability and historic character long-term.
The renovations will modernize the interior homes of the 92-year-old property and preserve its historic façade as well as original mosaic tile flooring and walls, historical interior doors, and hardware. Renovations will upgrade the infrastructure of the building including a new emergency generator, electrical panels and main switchgear, installing a sprinkler system, two new elevators, and new roofing. The apartments will also be upgraded with new Energy Star appliances, kitchens and bathrooms, and HVAC units. Construction is expected to begin this summer.
"Fairstead is proud to be stewards of historic properties across the country, and we are bringing our approach to preserving both history and affordability to the Aurora Apartments, By expanding our footprint in Texas, we can ensure that its critical affordable housing stock is not only protected but improved and modernized. Our plan to overhaul the homes at Aurora will ensure our senior residents can age in place with dignity – something we are committed to doing nationwide."
Allan Izzo, Director, Development at Fairstead
Fairstead is financing the rehabilitation in partnership with the Las Varas Public Facility Corporation, a nonprofit managed by the San Antonio Housing Authority, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Capital One, N.A., and Boston Financial.
"About half of the residents receiving housing assistance from SAHA are elderly on a fixed income," said Tim Alcott, the San Antonio Housing Authority Chief Legal and Real Estate Officer. "We celebrate partnerships that help maintain affordable housing options for the families we serve and provide a place of security."
"Boston Financial is proud to have partnered with Fairstead on the preservation of Aurora Apartments in San Antonio, Texas. Our investment has helped Fairstead to modernize 105 units of housing for the residents of this historic community, especially seniors, and preserved much-needed affordable homes for the region," said Stephen Napolitano, Senior Vice President, Boston Financial. "We believe in Fairstead's commitment to building vibrant communities across the US, and our work together reinforces our own vision to create a future where everyone has a home, one investment at a time."
"This renovation will help bring transformative change to Aurora Apartments with fully renovated unit interiors and common areas, as well as accessibility and energy efficiency improvements" said Evan Williams, senior vice president of Agency Finance at Capital One. "By leveraging our relationships with Fairstead and Freddie Mac, as well as the rest of the development team, Capital One was able to arrange an index lock, which mitigated the risk of interest volatility and ensured the project benefited from a 2.92% treasury rate."
Fairstead is partnering with the non-profit Rainbow Housing Assistance to provide much-needed social services to residents through the company's commitment to Community Impact.
"Rainbow is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Fairstead at Aurora Apartments. We are excited to bring valuable programs and services to the residents of the community and promote social and economic advancements while ensuring tenant stabilization," said Flynann Janisse, President and Executive Director of Rainbow Housing Assistance Corporation. "Rainbow will offer a variety of programs targeting financial literacy, credit enhancements, education, ESL, career development and immediate employment. We will establish tailored programing to meet the unique needs of each individual and family that calls Aurora Apartments home. We look forward to lifting lives in partnership with Fairstead."
Built in 1930 as a luxury hotel in the Neo-Gothic architectural style, Aurora is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Known for its hand-carved fireplaces and grand common spaces, the vintage 11-story apartment building will remain a pet-friendly place to call home. Half of the building's units are reserved for residents making up to 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and the other half are for households making up to 60 percent AMI.
This news follows Fairstead's recent acquisition of the 160-unit affordable housing complex Gateway Apartments at Lake Jackson in the Greater Houston metropolitan area. Fairstead is renovating and expanding Gateway's amenity offerings, including a fitness room and playground, and is transforming the property's outdoor recreation spaces to create a more connected community for residents.
Fairstead is a purpose-driven vertically integrated real estate developer specializing in creating sustainable, high-quality housing. The firm's national footprint includes more than $6 billion in assets and identified pipeline. With offices in New York, Maryland, and South Carolina, Fairstead's team manages 90+ communities across the country and runs its comprehensive real estate platform, which includes acquisitions and development, venture capital investments in prop tech, design and construction, energy and sustainability, property management, marketing, and leasing. The firm also administers one of the industry's most proactive community impact programs to provide on-site support services to residents.