Cielo Place: Historic Church Now Affordable Housing by Saigebrook Dev

Jan 5, 2022

December 15, 2021 Olivia Lueckemeyer, Bisnow Dallas-Fort Worth 

As reported in Biznow Dallas-Fort Worth, Saigebrook Development’s President Lisa Stephens was interviewed about the company’s renovation of a historical church — turning it into Affordable Housing for area residents earning less than the area’s median income. Now known as Cielo Place, this new affordable community includes 80 affordable units and 11 market-rate units.

The church dates back to 1904 and was likely to be demolished had Saigbrook not purchased the property in 2019 after being contacted about the prospect by the City of Fort Worth the previous year.

The property received a historic designation for the church granted by the National Register for Historic Places in 2020 opened up state and federal tax credits that could be used to help pay for the renovation. In partnership with investment partners Hunt Capital Partners and Aetna, Saigebrook carried out the $22M project.

In less than 60 days, Accolade Property Management leased all 91 units.  “We knew that it would go quickly,” Saigebrook Development Associate Alice Cruz said. “There is such a need for affordable housing in Fort Worth in general, but also in close proximity to downtown.”

Many longtime residents of the Race Street area have been displaced as a result of recent gentrification, Stephens said.

“When [gentrification] begins to happen, housing prices begin to go up and folks tend to get pushed out,” Stephens said. “Being able to come in and provide these units and have the affordability combined with the accessibility, we think will have a long-term impact on this neighborhood.”

The building was expanded twice in the 1950s, and its last church service was held on Christmas Eve 2018. Saigebrook tasked Miller-Slayton Architects and interior design firm Ink & Oro with updating the building while preserving elements of its design.

A community unveiling event was held at the site on Dec. 16.

“As we peeled back the layers of this building — painstakingly preserving and restoring the woodwork, stained glass windows, light fixtures, and structural components — we also peeled back layers of history and learned so much about the history of this church and the community that has gathered here over the years,” Stephens said in a statement.

Click below to read the full story on Biznow Fort Worth

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