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NeighborNEWS Fall 2014

Written by Administrator Monday, 03 November 2014 00:00

NeighborNEWS Fall 2014 Edition is out!

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NeighborWorks to build homes at old University High site

Written by Administrator Monday, 14 July 2014 14:02

NeighborWorks plans to build duplexes on former baseball and soccer practice fields at the old University High School property.

The nonprofit group received the 4 1/2-acre tract of land as a donation from the Dallas-based developer Leon Capital Group, which purchased the full 18-acre University High School from Waco Independent School District.

A 51,896-square-foot Gander Mountain store is being built on the main high school campus, along with a 107-room Homes2 Suites by Hilton extended-stay hotel.

Waco real estate agent Chris Gutierrez, who represented the Leon Capital Group in the land purchase, said the developer did not have plans for the practice field land and an adjacent parking lot, which are separated from the main site by Bagby Avenue.

“One thing about retail developers is everything they do is very focused, and even though this property was right across the street from the primary tract they bought from WISD, just being detached by a single street makes a big difference because that put it outside the target development,” Gutierrez said.

The fields do not sit on a perfect rectangle of land. The site is bordered by Bagby and Speight avenues and a part of 24th Street, but homes and businesses take up five lots alongside the property on 24th Street.

Donated land

Waco ISD stipulated that Leon Capital Group would have to acquire all of the University High land for the sale to be completed. The company originally planned to sell the field space, but Gutierrez, a member of NeighborWorks’ board of directors, suggested that the group instead consider donating the land to NeighborWorks.

Gutierrez said past clients also have donated land to the group as part of a property sale. A similar arrangement allowed NeighborWorks to acquire land at Dallas and Mill streets in East Waco to create the Pecan Valley Estates subdivision.

The parking lot, which takes up an acre of land on Bagby Avenue and 26th Street, was donated to neighboring Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Gutierrez said that move was suggested by Waco City Councilwoman Alice Rodriguez.

NeighborWorks CEO Roy Nash said the organization is exploring building duplexes on the site or new homes for lease or purchase.

The board has long expressed an interest in developing multifamily residential options to accommodate Waco’s large rental market.

Nash said about 57 percent of the city’s residents are renters. NeighborWorks already has 84 single-family rental homes, all of which are occupied.

“Waco is a renter’s town, if you will,” Nash said. “Providing quality, affordable rental properties is important for the community, so that’s why we’re looking at some kind of multifamily development because it’s an important aspect of Waco’s living environment.”

Nash said NeighborWorks has been in negotiations to purchase land on Mary Avenue near its downtown headquarters to build a duplex, but the deal has not been finalized.

Developing the University High property will allow NeighborWorks to expand housing options in South Waco, one of the agency’s priority areas.

The organization purchased 9 acres of land on Belmont Drive near the H-E-B on South Valley Mills Drive three years ago with intentions to build duplexes.

But development plans were put on hold because the site will need new streets, adding to construction costs.

“We like to work in areas that are a little lower-income and areas that need our help more than others, and areas that may be somewhat what you’d call underserved,” Nash said. “To me, that means areas that have been neglected for development in recent years.”

Nash said NeighborWorks expects to break ground on the University High land later this fall or by early 2015. He said the group likely will seek low-interest loans to cover the development costs, which he expect to top $1 million and may be split into two phases of construction.

The agency wants the site to keep some of the green space in the practice fields as a park for eventual tenants. This past spring, NeighborWorks allowed the Southern Little League to use the property for practices.


Nash said NeighborWorks still is focusing on efforts to boost homeownership. It is starting site development on Legacy Estates, a subdivision planned on the 500 block of Turner Street in East Waco that eventually will feature 12 single-family homes.

All of the agency’s rental properties can be purchased by tenants. Residents will have a rent-to-own option on the eventual duplexes or homes built on the University High property.

“This is probably the most construction we’ve had going on at one time since (the housing bubble burst),” Nash said. “Before then, we may build 24 houses in one year.

“It’s gotten better, but even two years ago, we’d be lucky if we did two.”


NeighborNEWS Summer 2014

Written by Administrator Tuesday, 01 July 2014 19:54

NeighborNEWS Summer 2014 Edition is out!

Check it out here:


Allstate Foundation Grant "Hands in the Community" Awarded to NeighborWorks Waco

Written by Administrator Thursday, 19 June 2014 21:45

Recognizing Robert Humphrey Allstate Insurance  for outstanding volunteerism, the Allstate Foundation recently awarded NeighborWorks Waco a $1,000 grant on their behalf.  Agency team members Robert Humphrey and Pat London have demonstrated a history of putting their good hands to work supporting worthy organizations like NeighborWorks Waco. Allstate selects grant recipients by looking at various criteria including non-profit status, community services provided, and the amount of hours dedicated each year by Allstate Volunteers.

The grant will benefit the NeighborWorks Waco’s Homebuyer Education Program.  This program is specific to first time homebuyers and those who are looking to educate themselves about the home buying process. NeighborWorks Waco’s Homebuyer Education Program helps future homebuyers overcome credit obstacles and learn to manage their money. In Homebuyer Education, students learn the basics of the home selection and purchase process in seminar-style sessions which are led by professionals that are involved in the home buying process. NeighborWorks Waco’s Homebuyer Education Program has helped over 2,500 people purchase their first home.

Allstate and NeighborWorks Waco have been working together within the Waco community for well over 10 years.

The next Homebuyer Education workshop will be on July 12th. To learn more or to sign up to attend the free course, call NeighborWorks Waco at 254.752.1647 or e-mail


PEARLS Program, Waco, TX

Written by Honey Jenkins Monday, 09 June 2014 20:54

*article from Community Housing Capital Annual Report*

PEARLS Program, Waco, TX

Across the country, the foreclosure crisis has created a very visible scar: vacant,abandoned houses that take a toll on surrounding neighborhoods. In Waco, Texas, things are no different, but NeighborWorks® Waco (NWW) has implemented an innovative solution.

Through their PEARLS program, NeighborWorks Waco purchases foreclosed or distressed properties, rehabilitates them and offers them for rent with an opportunity for the tenant to purchase the home. “PEARLS” stands for “Purchase Efficient Affordable homes, Rehab, Lease, Sell". Community Housing Capital (CHC) provided a $1 million five-year loan in support of this new program.

“Whether they’re REO or estate-owned properties, we go in and pick up a house that was distressed – probably the worst house on the street – and convert it to a high-quality rental property,” NWW Chief Financial Officer Karen Saucedo explained. “The organization works closely with tenants, forming ongoing relationships with many.”

The city also has a problem with slumlords who provide substandard housing, according to Saucedo. “People have to settle for that unless they can afford $1,400 or $1,500 a month,” she said. “They have to scratch and fight for quality affordable rental housing.”

So far the organization has acquired and renovated more than 85 homes through the PEARLS program since 2009. Tenants are encouraged to take NWW’s homeownership education classes, and many go on to purchase homes they are renting or others when they are ready. PEARLS is working well as a stabilization strategy.

“The PEARLS program is providing working people with a stable place to raise their families, while preparing them for the opportunity of successful homeownership and stabilizing communities at the same time,” explains Roy Nash, President and CEO, NeighborWorks Waco. The program is so successful that NWW has been asked to share information on the PEARLS program and anti-poverty strategies for youth and families in other areas of the country so that the success can be replicated on an even broader basis, having a ripple effect.

“In an ever-changing financial environment, CHC has remained steady and constant. Even though they are a national lender, they are like the lender next door," said Roy Nash, President and Chief Executive Officer, NeighborWorks Waco. “They are responsive and friendly and really want to work with us to make our project happen and be successful. CHC is the best lending organization that we have worked with."




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