Matthews Southwest, the developer best known for its work on the Omni Dallas Hotel and in the Cedars neighborhood, recently completed renovations on the former Dallas High School, which has been transformed into creative office space.

Now the developer is moving forward on an affordable housing project adjacent to its Dallas High site. On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council approved plans for the project, which will now pursue tax credits from the state. “It is critical to have city of Dallas support to move forward,” Matthews Southwest vice president Scott Galbraith says.

The developer is seeking nine percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and will submit a formal application with the state Friday. After submitting, Matthews will work over the next several months to “keep [its] application competitive with others in the DFW region,” Galbraith says. In July, the state may choose to award this project with $1.5 million in annual tax credits for a 10-year period.

“We happened to have the site around Dallas High School that had a small piece to one side. It wouldn’t normally be a multifamily project, but with [Matthews Southwest president] Jack [Matthews]’ vision and Perkins + Will, we’re now in the midst of a project we’re calling 2400 Bryan,” Galbraith says.

Preliminary plans for the project include 212 residential units, about 100 of which will be earmarked for those earning 30-60 percent of Dallas’ median household income. The units will be integrated, meaning “you won’t know which is a LIHTC unit just by looking at it,” Gailbraith says.

The developer’s non-profit partner in the deal is Texas Legends Care, whose mission is to build relationships with disadvantaged youth primarily through sports. Galbraith says Texas Legends could potentially have space on the ground floor of the multifamily tower to use as community and fitness space.

Matthews Southwest aims to break ground on the project in early 2019 and build on a two-year construction timeline.

In 2015, the developer bought the Dallas High School site on Pearl and Bryan streets in downtown and spent the next two years renovating the historic building. Architecture firm Perkins + Will, the building’s anchor tenant, moved into the space in December 2017.

Many studies show Dallas’ affordable housing market is severely underserved, perhaps, in part, because of a lack of understanding, D contributor Jon Anderson contends.

“We’re not the only ones advancing this type of project, but it’s expensive,” Gailbraith says. “We have a long way to address that need. … We like to think if we keep doing this, and if other people keep doing it, we’ll make a dent in this [issue].”

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