OHFC, City working on housing projectsWater, wastewater both are on the agenda

The Odessa Housing Finance Corporation and the City of Odessa are hard at work trying to build more housing for the city’s growing workforce, but it will still be some time before any of them are built.
City Council members most recently approved the rezoning of 12 lots owned by OHFC near Fitch Avenue and Lamesa Street, from general residential to special dwelling districts. This means the houses will have smaller lot widths, allowing for more houses to be built there, with 40-feet wide lots for each house as opposed to the standard 50-feet.
OHFC Executive Director Jill Miller said these 12 lots will be built into a cul-de-sac comprised of 12 houses which she said will look like other houses in the neighborhood. Miller couldn’t say yet what kind of income range would be suitable for the houses, as it’s still too early in development and the project hasn’t even gone out for a bid yet, but said they typically build houses for people making anywhere between 60% of the median income to 130% of the median income. Miller said the median income for a family of four in Odessa in 2018 was listed as $73,900.
“Our mission is to help people get into what they can afford,” Miller said. “We always are trying to build workforce housing that’s at a good price.”
The first step, though, is to get the appropriate infrastructure built for the new cul-de-sac, but Miller said they haven’t gotten a bid package together for that either. Everything is still in the planning stage.
“When I started this 18 years ago, we could build a house in 90 days,” Miller said. “And now a house can take six months to nine months. We’re not in the same market conditions we were in 18 years ago. I would hope that we can do it quickly but I never know.”
That’s not the only project OHFC is partnering with the city on either. At the July 9 council meeting, the City Council will consider approving another rezoning to a special development district for 33 lots at Fitch Avenue and Avenida de Mexico, just south of their other 12-lot project.
“I think it’s a good development, it’ll be comparable to what’s around there,” City Planning Director Randy Brinlee said.
OHFC is also working with the city on a 7.65 acre property at the intersection of Rochester Avenue and Seminole Street. City officials think the lot could see up to 40 new houses built for working class Odessans, but not much has happened there since the City Council first voted to move forward with the project in April. Miller said a request for proposals from builders was sent out for the property just this week.
And there’s still a 48-acre property in north Odessa that OHFC is working on as well. They already have Eighty Seventh Apartments built at 8640 Hunter Miller Way, but that’s just one piece of the plan. Miller said they also want to build additional apartments and single-family homes on the property. They are already providing the apartment complex with help from the West Texas Food Bank and offer activities like after-school tutoring and art programs, and Miller said they hope they can provide that for the entire community being built. But she said they’re still acquiring funding for the project.
“I’m hoping that by the first of next year we’ll be able to get this started,” she said. “I could have told you that eight different times on the first one [Eighty Seventh Apartments] and I would have been wrong.”