The San Antonio Housing Authority cut the ribbon Friday on what it is billing as the largest reconstruction effort on the city's west side in a decade.
SAHA opened five single family homes starting in price around $125,000 and boasting dozens of energy efficient features, including Energy Star-rated appliances, green building materials, and sealed ventilation systems.
These homes are the first in an 88-home spread for developments in and around what was formerly known as Mirasol Homes.
The 247-unit Mirasol home development — funded with $48 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — became a black eye for SAHA almost as soon as homeowners moved into them.
SAHA bought back dozens of properties, and dozens more went unsold. It would later sue the builder KB Homes along with Magi and Heery International and settle for $20 million.
SAHA President David Nisivoccia said they closed the book on Mirasol while standing on the sidewalk outside one of the new yellow house in the Blueridge neighborhood during the ceremony.
"I actually think we regained the trust of the greater community years ago,” Nisivoccia said. “Today is just another step in that process.”
Roughly $12 million from the lawsuit helped fund these new houses, and Nisivoccia said it will help them do what then-HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros had hoped for with the original Mirasol: Turn renters into homeowners and allow them to build generational wealth.
“If we have an opportunity now to give them an affordable product that will grow in value and in the future they can pass on their children because it has equity, you’re changing that family’s ascension for generations,” he said.
According to SAHA, one home is already under contract, and the remaining four will be on Monday. New homes in San Antonio aren’t being sold at anywhere near the $125,000 SAHA price tag. According to the San Antonio Board of Realtors, the median price for a new home in Bexar County was $249,838.
To be eligible to purchase, a person must not have owned a home in the past 18 months, one’s income level must be at or below HUD income limits, along with many other requirements.