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Contact: Susan Farb Morris
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Houston, TX – March 23, 2017 . . . Houston Heights Towers, a 223-unit midrise residence serving low- to moderate-income senior adults, has reached new heights thanks to a $12-million renovation funded by the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department and Community Bank of Texas. The independent senior living facility, which opened in April 1975 at 330 West 19th Street, will have a rededication ceremony Thursday, March 23, 10:30 a.m. in the heart of The Heights. Mayor Sylvester Turner and The Honorable U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, will be keynote speakers.
“When we built Houston Heights Towers 42 years ago, The Heights was somewhat of a sleepy historic Houston neighborhood. Today, this is a truly vibrant high opportunity area that’s abuzz with retail, banks, restaurants, and medical facilities,” said Tom Forrester Lord, president, The Housing Corporation of Greater Houston, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving housing conditions and conserving neighborhoods. The Houston Housing Management Corporation, a management subsidiary of The Housing Corporation, has managed the property since its inception.
According to Tom McCasland, Director of the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department, the City contributed a $10-million Community Development Block Grant to renovate Houston Heights Towers in 2013. Community Bank provided a $2-million loan to complete the project. The refurbishment included installing all new plumbing, transforming the former cafeteria into a 2,000-square-foot Community Room for social activities, adding a computer room, resurfacing and painting the exterior, adding heavy (four-foot thick) insulation for energy efficiency, new landscaping and refreshing apartments with all-new flooring, kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures. The facility remained open throughout the three-year renovation.
Situated on a prime ¾-acre property in the downtown Heights, the eight-story building houses 167 studios, 56 one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment. Rents range from $435 to $566 per month, including utilities, estimated at 40 percent below market rate. Residents must be age 62 or older, active/independent and earn not more than 60 percent of the Houston area’s median income, which, for a two-person household is $33,240 annually and one-person household, $29,100 annually. The community is open to seniors regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and familial status.
Houston Heights Towers was developed by a consortium led by four Heights churches: Heights Presbyterian, St. Andrew’s Episcopal, Heights Christian Church and All Saints Catholic. The idea was to provide a place for neighborhood seniors to retire and stay in The Heights.
Frances Smerinsky, 87, a Houston Heights Towers resident since February 8, 1999, lived on the city’s north side most of her life. After moving to Houston Heights Towers, she sold her car because “I don’t need a car here. I’m close to everything you have to have – a grocery store, drug store, cleaners, bank and doctor are either in walking distance or I take the bus.” Frances has enjoyed her retirement years at Houston Heights Towers, describing her fellow residents as being ‘like one big family.’
Residents enjoy a library stocked with books and videos, exercise equipment, coin-operated laundry facilities, free on-site parking and an emergency call system. Activities include low-impact exercise classes, planned outings and shopping trips, arts and crafts, Bingo, sing-alongs, video club and coffee club.
Property Manager Hope Aguirre, who grew up in The Heights (Travis Elementary, Hogg Jr. High and Regan High School), has worked at Houston Heights Towers since 1980. She started as a housekeeper and was promoted to receptionist, assistant manager and ultimately to manager in 1990.
The renovation was designed by Jim Gwin Architects, Inc. and built by Comanche Contractors. It is one of 30 projects managed by The Housing Corporation in and around Houston since its establishment in 1968. The organization has assisted in the promotion, construction, rehabilitation and management of more than 4,000 residences serving more than 20,000 lower-income citizens by providing critical technical expertise and guidance to access seed money capital.
For further information on Houston Heights Towers, call The Housing Corporation, (713) 526-9470 or (713) 862-8058. # # #