tropicana 20 year story

In 1999, R. L. “Bobby” Bowling IV began working on his first apartment development, to be called “Burgundy Palms.” At the encouragement of his friend and Executive Director of the Lower Valley Housing Development Corporation, Nancy Hanson, Bobby began to explore the world of IRS Section 42 tax credits administered by the state housing agency (The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs or “TDHCA”) as a mechanism to finance apartment development. As Burgundy Palms progressed, Bobby reached out to the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce’s housing entity (The Greater El Paso Housing Development Corporation or “GEPHDC”) through its Executive Director, Demetrio Jimenez, and its President, David Etzold, to collaborate on a partnership to submit a bid application for tax credit financing. Their first application submitted for tax credits was not funded by TDHCA, but Bobby and his Tropicana Building companies learned a lot that first year—and since 2001, Tropicana has been awarded 9% tax credit financing in the competitive bid process for at least one apartment development in El Paso County in each of the past 19 years by TDHCA.

As the bid awards began to increase over those first few years, Bobby’s brother Randall J. “Randy” Bowling became instrumental in working out subcontractor and supplier prices in order to keep the development budgets manageable and work delivered on time. As the first developments came to completion in 2002, Bobby and Randy brought in Demetrio Jimenez as their partner in the newly formed “Tropicana Properties” company, and Demetrio quickly trained himself to become one of the top property managers in the region. After that, the three partners were off and running in building one of the largest and most successful apartment development/ownership/management family of companies in the country.

This year, with the successful bid award from TDHCA for tax credit financing for the “Anthony Palms Apartments” in Anthony, Texas; the Tropicana family of partnerships with Bobby, Randy and Demetrio at the helm, have been awarded 35 applications for tax credit financing over the past 20 years. When Anthony Palms is finished, the three partners will collectively own and manage 37 apartment complexes with 3,572 apartment units for rent—all in El Paso County. This work has brought over $300 million of outside capital investment into the El Paso area, thousands of jobs, and millions of dollars in tax revenues and fees to governmental entities.

Bobby, Randy and Demetrio would like to personally thank all the friends, family, subcontractors, suppliers, employees and most of all, the tenants of El Paso for helping write this wonderful success story. From three best friends in El Paso with a dream that has fully come to fruition, we are so extremely grateful to our hometown for helping us make this dream come true. We hope to continue to share our good fortune with continued success in bringing quality affordable housing to the entire El Paso region, along with the jobs and tax base that come with these apartment developments.