Former Dallas City Councilman Sues City Over Housing Project

Former Dallas City Council Member Philip Kingston, a Dallas attorney, is suing the City of Dallas on behalf of the developers of a downtown housing project.

The lawsuit claims the city stalled reimbursement of subsidies for affordable housing units.

Tenant Charles Robinson lives in one of the apartments at the Lone Star Gas Lofts on St.Paul Street.

"Compared to everything else, it’s affordable," he said.

The 82 year old cancer patient said he likes the space he has in his apartment and he likes the location near public transportation and medical care.

"I would not be here, downtown, without this," Robinson said.

A partnership of Hamilton Properties and CitySquare renovated the former Atmos Energy complex, between Harwood, St.Paul, Wood and Jackson streets.

"It was an empty space that needed fixing and it was a large project in terms of the amount of the investment that would be needed," Kingston said.

The project included 107 units that were set aside for tenants making 60% or less of the area's median income.

The lawsuit claims the developers have suffered $7.9 million in damages because the city has failed to provide reimbursement for the affordable housing from a Tax Increment Financing District.

"What is the message to other developers who might want to partner with the city to solve our housing crisis? Our housing policy says we need 20 thousand units of affordable housing within the next three years.  Who’s going to build them if they can’t count on the funding," Kingston said.

The TIF District was created to help get old downtown buildings back in use and create affordable housing.

"The investment that the city made helped me," Robinson said.

Now, the developers want the money they claim was promised to them.

"Between Hamilton Properties and City Square, you’re talking about the two entities that have produced the vast majority of affordable housing for downtown," Kingston said.

The City of Dallas of did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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