FORT LAUDERDALE — The trendy Las Olas section of Fort Lauderdale, noted for its boutiques and high-end restaurants, has some new neighbors — senior citizens who are on a budget.
Housing Trust Group, an affordable housing real estate developer in Florida, recently completed construction of Village Place Apartments, a $15 million, 112-unit affordable housing community for ages 55 and up in Fort Lauderdale. The mid-rise apartment development at 720 NE Fourth Avenue, just blocks from the popular Las Olas Boulevard area in downtown Fort Lauderdale, is already 100-percent leased.
Sandra Johnson was fortunate to get a unit. She said she’s beyond ecstatic.
“It’s near everything. It’s an amazing place,” said Johnson, 60, a clerical worker with the Department of Juvenile Justice. “The people are so very nice. The management, they’re just amazing people. You want to live at the place.”
Johnson lived just north of downtown, in a high-rise apartment with a beach view. That view came at a price — about $1,500 per month. Now, she said, she pays about half that amount. She learned about the new place a year ago while browsing on rent.com.
“It’s an absolute joy. I can’t wait to get there [after work],” she said, “I don’t even want to come out.”
About 90 percent of the units are for low-income households whose income is 60 percent of the average median income of $61,800 per year. Another 10 percent of the units are for extremely low-income residents, whose income is 25 percent of average median income. For the 90 percent units, the two-bedroom monthly rental rate is $903 and the one-bedroom monthly rental rate is $760.
Matthew Rieger, president and CEO of Housing Trust Group, hailed the new development as the company’s “masterpiece.”
“This is a standout example of how public-private partnerships can be successfully created to provide much needed affordable and safe housing in Broward County while improving the quality of life for the area’s senior residents and increasing property values as well,” Rieger said.
Located in the Flagler Village urban redevelopment area, the site includes a mix of 82 one-bedroom/one-bath units and 30 two-bedroom/two-bath units. The architect of the development is Sotolongo Salman Henderson of Miami.
The apartment community includes a gated entrance, community center with wi-fi access throughout, swimming pool and fitness room with exercise equipment. Residents will also have convenient access to The Wave Modern Streetcar transit system that is scheduled to open in 2017.
Project financing was provided by U.S. Bank in the amount of $38.6 million through its community development subsidiary including a $13.2 million construction loan; a $3 million permanent financing loan; and $22.4 million of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity from U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC), awarded by Florida Housing Finance Corporation. The project’s funding also included $125,000 from Broward County Housing.