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7 May,2010

Mayor Tom Leppert


Ms. Delia Jasso
Mr. David A. Neumann
Mr. Dwaine R. Caraway
Ms. Vonciel HillJones
Mr. Steve Salazar
Ms. Carolyn R. Davis
Mr. TennellAtkins
Mr. Sheffie Kadane
Mr. Jerry R. Allen
Ms. Linda Koop
Mr. Ron Natinsky
Ms. Ann Margolin
Ms. Angela Hunt

Re: TheContinentalBuilding
1810 Commerce Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
CDBG Section 108 Loan Guarantee

Dear Mr. Mayor and City Council Members:

On January 13,2010, you voted your approval of a $7.6 Million CDBG Section 108 Loan Guarantee for
Forest City's Continental Building Project (Agenda ltem #68). You may remember that plans for the
project included 199 residential rental units, including 40 LodModerate lncome units. On January 15,
2010, the City of Dallas forwarded the Section 108 application and a request for a HUD waiver of the 51%
LMI national objective for the project (Continental is proposed to include only 40 loMmoderate income
units, whereas compliance with the national objective would have required 102 of the apartments to be
"set-aside" as loWmoderate income units) to the HUD Fort Worth Office of Community Planning and
Development.

After months of project planning by Forest Gity and review and approval by the City's Economic
Development and Hbusing Departments, approvals of the projecl by the Downtown Connection TIF
District Board of Directors, approvals by both the Housing and Economic Development Committees, and
ultimately Dallas City Council approval, the project plan submitted to HUD contained discriminatory
elementi, which represent violations of the Fair Housing Act (we filed a FOIA request to HUD and
received the entire 108 application submitted by the COD housing department on behalf of Forest City).
The project contained 199 residential rental units, including one bedroom, two bedroom and three
bedroom floorplans. However, only the smallest one bedroom, one bath floorplans were to be "set aside'
as affordable housing units. lf the project had proceeded as it had been approved by the City and
submitted to HUD, discrimination on the basis of familial status would have occurred, since loWmoderate
income families, particularly those with children, would not have been welcome in the building.
Additionally, Forest City's drawings for the project showed virtually all of the lodmoderate income "set-
aside" units located at the rear (south side) of the building. As you probably know, the apartments located
on the northern end of the building will enjoy views of the new "Main Street Gardens" city park. The
location of the affordable housing units within the building was questioned by TennellAtkins during the
November 2,2009 Housing Committee meeting, but the project got approved anyway.

After we exposed these actions to HUD (with detailed analysis) in \A/bshington and the Department of
Justice, by you, city staff and Forest Clty, it is my understanding that Forest City has completely re-
planned the building to address these issues. lt is astounding that the original, discriminatory project plan
could have been vetted and approved under the scrutiny of so many different groups and individuals
within City Hall. lt obviously supports and provides black and white evidence of our claims against the
Clty of Dallas

Respectfu lly submitted,

Curtis Lockey