Monday, September 11, 2017

Richardson Needs More Apartments

Richardson needs more apartments. Or at least, more low-income housing, which tends to be multi-family. Instead, the multi-family housing that is going up all over Richardson is not affordable for many of the workers needed to support Richardson's boom.

Richardson's City Council has withstood the opposition to new apartments, but only to a point. Even the Richardson City Council won't address the elephant in the room — the lack of low-income housing. The result: restaurants in booming developments like CityLine are having trouble finding workers. Those employed at, say, State Farm and Raytheon can afford to live in all the new upscale apartments at CityLine. Those employed in CityLine's restaurants cannot.

In an article in The Dallas Morning News, Jill Cowan provides the ugly numbers.
The average leisure and hospitality worker in Collin County, the heart of the region’s corporate boom, made roughly $22,400 last year, federal data show. That worker can comfortably afford a maximum rent of $560.
Median rent in Dallas County was $907 in 2015, an increase of 9 percent from 2010, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. In Collin County, median rent was $1,119 in 2015, up by 15.6 percent. That makes it all but impossible for restaurant employees to live anywhere near their work.
That's a problem, not just for the low-income workers. It's a problem for the restaurants that depend on low-income workers. That makes it a problem for the businesses whose employees eat in those restaurants. Anything that stifles the businesses in a city is a problem for the homeowners who benefit from the taxes paid by all those businesses. That's me. Call it self interest. That's just one reason why I say Richardson needs more low-income housing.


Chuck Riehm said...

City Line didn't need 30+ restaurants landing within a few months in 2016. None of them are profitable for a variety of reasons, labor costs (raise wages = more labor, simple), food costs, traffic congestion at Plano Rd and Renner, over supply of seats for the number of people (those apartments are not even done construction, currently poorly populated as they are too expensive for the City Line business employees to afford. The planning wasn't wrong necessarily but the timing was tremendously wrong. Supply of restaurants far exceeds the demand within a 2 mile area because the population has not grown enough to demand this over-saturation of restaurants.

Mark Steger said...

Chuck Riehm, thanks for the feedback. To be honest, I hadn't considered your solution of just getting rid of restaurants. But unless you get rid of them all, there's still the problem that the average apartment rent is still unaffordable for the employees of the restaurants that remain.

Mark Steger said...

Businesses need workers. Cities need healthy neighborhoods. There is opportunity for synergy here. Healthy neighborhoods should include duplexes, triplexes, second floor apts above retail, tiny homes, backyard cottages, and more design styles that can accommodate small budgets.