BROWNSVILLE, Texas – In a Zoom interview with the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service, Helen Ramirez has discussed a new project that will see 125 net zero carbon footprint rental homes built in Brownsville.

Helen Ramirez

Ramirez is deputy city manager for the City of Brownsville and executive director of the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation. 

The new project comes from Astreia, which describes itself as a vertically-integrated developer. The company says its mission is to build low carbon footprint homes and sustainable communities.

Astreia recently announced plans to develop Habitat Zero, its first build-for-rent neighborhood, in Brownsville. It is said to be the first development of its kind, not just in Texas but the whole of the United States.

Habitat Zero will offer 125 homes complete with solar panels, Tesla Powerwall batteries and 30 EV chargers throughout the community.

“We are very excited about this project,” Ramirez said. “They found a beautiful property on a resaca and really a straight shoot to the airport and SpaceX. We are very excited about being the first city to approve such a project.”


Dr. Natalie Rens is founder and CEO of Astreia. Rens acknowledged that SpaceX’s presence in Brownsville was a factor in choosing to build in the city.

“We chose Brownsville because I saw the opportunity to support the growth of Starbase, and the city was exceptionally welcoming,” Rens said.

“From the first meeting with City leadership, I was blown away by the bold vision for the future combined with the real drive to make it a reality, and not tomorrow but now. Brownsville is a place where we can just get things done. I love the spirit here. There’s a feeling of hope and momentum in this city and we’re honored to be a part of it.”

Habitat Zero’s Planned Development District was unanimously approved by the City of Brownsville Planning and Zoning Commission on March 3, and by the City Commission on March 15.

The project incorporates two commercial lots with Highway 4 frontage, a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom energy efficient homes managed in real time through the Astreia home control system app. 

Other community amenities include green features to conserve water and protect the natural resaca front environment, water conserving landscaping, and backyards connected by parks and trails.

“We are excited to welcome Habitat Zero to the City of Brownsville. It will offer immediate relief to the urgent and rising housing needs of our growing aerospace and technology sectors and showcase what the can-do attitude of the City of Brownsville can do for innovation”, said Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez.

“I am proud of the work and dedication delivered by City officials and Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation staff. Their first-rate customer service and diligence continue to put Brownsville on the map for emerging industries.”

For detailed information on Astreia state of the art homes, or to reserve to be among the first Habitat Zero residents to move in early 2023, go to:

For more additional information, please contact Constanza Miner, business development director for the City of Brownsville, at (956) 346-8116.

Quality journalism takes time, effort and…. Money!

Producing quality journalism is not cheap. The coronavirus has resulted in falling revenues across the newsrooms of the United States. However, The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service is committed to producing quality news reporting on the issues that matter to border residents. The support of our members is vital in ensuring our mission gets fulfilled. 

Can we count on your support? If so, click HERE. Thank you!

Keep on top of the big stories affecting the Texas-Mexico. Join our mailing list to receive regular email alerts.

Sign-up for the latest news

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact