Public-Private Partnerships Make Way for New Workforce Housing in Largo
The Pinellas County Housing Authority will begin construction this month on Palms of Pinellas, a 92 unit mixed income community. The new apartment homes will provide much needed affordable workforce housing for essential workers in the community, including those workers working in the tourism and service industries. The development will provide housing that is affordable to individuals and families that earn from 50 percent of the Area Median Income to 150 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).
“A unique public-private partnership was created for the development of Palms of Pinellas” said Debbie Johnson, PCHA’s executive director. Nineteen of the apartments will have income restrictions of 50% AMI and another ten percent will be restricted to 80% AMI. The remaining units will be market rate for individuals and families earning up to 150% of AMI. “This was a difficult deal to put together. Through US AmeriBank we were able to take advantage of low interest rates to make the conventional financing for this deal work, and our partners, Pinellas County and the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County, stepped in to provide the needed gap financing and the land purchase through the Land Assembly Fund. It took all the partners to make this new workforce housing possible” Johnson said.
Angela Rouson, PCHA’s board chair said “When people can afford to live closer to where they work, entire communities see the benefit. Commute times ease, neighborhoods are more diverse and provide the opportunity for families to live and grow, and employers can attract and retain essential workers. The entire community is strengthened.”
The Pinellas County Housing Authority was able to take advantage of the historically low interest rates to finance the construction of Palms of Pinellas. The vast majority of the $13 million development cost was financed through US AmeriBank at very competitive terms. Pinellas County provided a $1.5 loan for gap financing, and with assistance from the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County as trustee, Pinellas County’s Land Assembly Program acquired the land for $950,000. The land is now in the Pinellas County Land Assembly Trust. PCHA has leased the land and will make an annual lease payment to the Housing Finance Authority, assuring the project continues to provide affordable housing for many years to come.
A groundbreaking celebration was held on May 10, 2017 and construction is expected to commence by the end of the month. The new community will open for occupancy in the summer of 2018 and will feature a mixture of one, two and three bedroom apartment homes with ample family-friendly community amenities. Pre-leasing will begin by early 2018.