Former Wesley AME Church near Historic Third Ward to be redeveloped into Gospel Square

ByCassandra Jenkins Community Impact Newspaper logo
Saturday, April 6, 2024
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HOUSTON, Texas -- The city of Houston approved an ordinance on March 27 authorizing the purchase and sale of 62,500 square feet of land located at 2209 Emancipation Ave., Houston, near the Historic Third Ward. The land will be sold to The National Housing Partnership Foundation for redevelopment.

The big picture

The NHP Foundation is a nonprofit real estate organization dedicated to preserving and creating affordable housing.

As the developer, the foundation will renovate and redevelop the property, which is located within the Third Ward Complete Community, into a dynamic mixed-use development that will be renamed Gospel Square.

Gospel Square is expected to function as a live-work community with:

  • A cafe
  • A recording studio
  • A courtyard
  • New affordable housing units

The former Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Church located on the site will also be renovated and will be transformed to include a community center, event performance space, and a gospel museum. Renovations will include infrastructure and energy-efficient improvements.

According to the NHP Foundation, the church will maintain its existing exterior structure in honor of the building's historic nature.

Zooming in

The proposed new construction will add 50 residential units with 100% of homes affordable to residents earning 60% of the area median income, or AMI.

According to the Harris County Housing Finance Corporation, the 60% limit for the AMI, as of 2021, ranges from $33,300 for a one-person household to $62,760 for an eight-person household.

The median household income as of 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is $60,440.

In addition to housing, the facility will provide 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and parking. The second floor will be reserved for office conference space and coworking use for lease as well as rental units. The third and fourth floors will only consist of residential units.

The cost

The total budget for the project is $26.8 million, which includes the city's land purchase price of $3.8 million and $23 million to be funded by the NHP Foundation.

The city of Houston and Wesley AME Church entered into a purchase and sale agreement in September 2021. The city allocated $3.8 million in Homeless and Housing Consolidated funds for the purchase of the land.

An additional $200,000 was paid for due diligence and other transaction fees.

Going forward

According to a presentation by the City of Houston Housing & Community Development Department, renovation of the church is expected to be complete in July.

Community members and residents of Third Ward can share comments and give feedback on the proposed renovation and redevelopment of the Wesley AME Church on the city of Houston's website, here.