Photo of the exterior site of St. Johns with apartments still under construction

Following the $26 million redevelopment and construction of the mixed-rent St. John Apartments complex in San Antonio, general contractor NRP Construction claims they are still owed $1.59 million in unpaid construction work as of October 2020. 

The 228-unit, five-building St. John Apartments, involved the redevelopment of the one-hundred-year-old St. John’s Seminary building into apartment units, is located on East Mitchell Street in San Antonio. 

Aside from redevelopments to the former St. John’s Seminary facility, four new two-story apartment buildings were also constructed, bringing the facility’s grand total to five buildings. 

NRP Construction’s unpaid construction work claim, known as a mechanics lien or construction lien, was processed on October 12 against the property owner and general partner 222 Mitchell Redevelopment. San Antonio Housing Trust Public Facility Corporation is listed as serving as the “sole member” of the partnership. 

“I wasn’t aware that there was a lien on the property,” said Sharon Jennings, a Contract Officer with the San Antonio Housing Trust Public Facility Corporation.

Beyond being unaware of a lien filing, the organization was also unclear as to the identity of the proper general contractor. 

“I didn’t think NRP [Construction] was really involved in this project,” said Jennings. “I don’t know why, because I thought it was the 210 Development Group [as the general contractor].”

During a follow-up interview on November 24, Jennings reported she had reached out to 222 Mitchell Redevelopment to learn more about NRP Construction’s October 12 lien claim. 

“[222 Mitchell Redevelopment] is waiting on funds that are supposed to be paid by various state and federal entities,” said Jennings. “They haven’t paid yet, so [222 Mitchell Redevelopment] is just waiting on them to be paid. So once they pay, they’ll immediately of course pay off the lien.”

A mechanics lien is filed when contractors are not paid on time. The lien claim is then placed directly against the property, which can help force payment by getting the property owner involved. If left unpaid, a contractor’s active mechanics lien could force a property into foreclosure. 

The lone unpaid construction claim was processed with the Bexar County clerk’s office in accordance with Texas mechanics lien laws

According to Bexar County records, NRP Construction has filed the only lien against the St. John Apartments as of November 2020. 

A spokesman from NRP Construction could not be reached for comment. 

General contractor NRP Construction owed $1.59M 

NRP Construction — a faction of developer and property management organization NRP Group — is allegedly owed $1,593,451.67 for the redevelopment and construction of the St. John Apartments, located at 222 East Mitchell Street, San Antonio, TX. 

In early October, NRP Construction placed their lien claim against the property after providing “general construction, design, and remodeling,” according to the lien affidavit. 

As of July 2020, NRP Construction penned plans to construct an additional 900+ units of affordable housing in Texas at a cost of $175 million. 

The project reportedly includes a total of 922 new apartments with a similar goal to that of St. John Apartments: to create affordable housing in four new apartment complexes in both San Antonio and McKinney, Texas.

NRP Construction’s new projects will reportedly be completed by early 2022. 

St. John part of $26M mixed-rate apartment project 

According to the San Antonio Express-News, St. John Apartments’ partial owner, San Antonio Housing Trust Public Facility Corporation, was created “to finance housing developments by exempting them from property taxes.”

The organization has a long history of name changes dating back to 1988, with the goal of creating more affordable housing for low-income families in the city. 

St. John Apartments became a part of this movement in San Antonio, as the San Antonio Business Journal reports the developers planned for 75% of its units to be rent-restricted and affordable for people making 60% of the San Antonio-area’s median income. 

As of February 2020, the San Antonio Express-News also reported that of the 9,500 new affordable apartments created by San Antonio Housing Trust Public Facility Corporation, nearly half were created for people making 60% of the area’s median income. Less than 5% of those apartments were for families making 50% of the area’s median income, with just 2.2% for those making just 30% of the area’s median income. 

San Antonio apartment construction increasing in 2020 

According to apartment database RentCafe, San Antonio ranked #19 in a list of the top 20 US metros by projected new apartments in 2020 with 4,594 units. 

San Antonio experienced 20% growth in new apartment construction between 2019 and 2020, ranking #4 in a list of 20 US metros studied in the same category by RentCafe. 

By the first half of 2020, RentCafe also found San Antonio had the second-highest growth in completed new apartments with 2,871 new apartments. In this category, San Antonio trailed behind fellow Texas city, Austin, which had 3,827 new apartments.