New multi-family housing serves a diverse community

Villas on the Strand
Galveston Housing Authority
Galveston, TX

KAI was chosen by the Galveston Housing Authority as lead architect, with McCormack Baron Salazar as developer, to design a new multi-family housing development dubbed Villas on the Strand in Galveston, Texas.  In 2008, Hurricane Ike had destroyed the once-thriving Magnolia Homes and Cedar Terrace public housing developments that in recent years had fall into disrepair and obsolescence. To understand the varied needs and requirements of the area’s diverse constituents, the team began the design effort with a thorough community engagement process, including extensive outreach.

The result was two new replacement communities: Villas on the Strand (former Magnolia Homes site) and Cedars at Carver Park (former Cedar Terrace site) providing 160 homes and 120 homes, respectively. The new developments provide a mixed-income product for the 1,000+ families seeking affordable housing on the island, with 51% of the units set aside as affordable housing to a range of incomes.

With Galveston’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and most of the City being in an identified flood zone, all units are built with the first floor level 10 feet above grade (15 feet above sea level), while conforming to Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) wind load performance standards. Parking is at grade level under the units.

The $22 million Villas on the Strand is designed sustainably, following Enterprise Green Community Criteria. The design theme celebrates the island’s unique character and culture, blending seamlessly with its rich style which traverses from Victorians on the east to seaside homes on the west. The property is located just blocks from the popular shopping and entertainment destination Strand Historic District, a National Historic Landmark District for its unparalleled collection of commercial Victorian architecture in Texas, as well as its role as the state’s major port in the 19th century.

As a multi-family property, the Villas includes site amenities such as a pool, barbecue areas, playground, fitness facility, and meeting rooms. The development conforms to HUD and Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs (TDHCA) distribution of Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) dwelling units.


Architecture, Building Information Modeling, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Plumbing Engineering, Sustainable Design, Enterprise Green Community, Fire Protection Engineering

The Impact

Revitalizing obsolete public housing

The former Magnolia Homes and Cedar Terrace housing communities opened to great fanfare in 1953. However, as the years went by, the once safe and stable public housing option fell into disrepair and obsolescence as lack of maintenance and funding became in issue. After being destroyed by Hurricane Ike, the community rallied around a mixed-income development including both affordable housing and market rate units to serve a variety of constituents and beautify the area.

Project Recognition

Enterprise Green Community