The City of Kissimmee is hoping that the offer of free land less than a mile from downtown's Lakeview Park will induce a developer to build up to 400 units of affordable rental housing.
The city has issued a Request for Letter of Interest (RFLOI) for affordable housing developers to build multi-phased, mixed-income rental housing on 19 acres just off John Young Parkway, west of downtown.
"We want to see what the market brings in," Deputy City Manager Desiree Matthews told GrowthSpotter. "We want something that's attractive, quality, creates a sense of space and fits in with the surrounding community, because it does abut a residential community."
The affordable rental housing units would be targeted to serve low-income families that are presently living in motels on West U.S. 192, according to the project scope.
Matthews said the city would be open to proposals that include a mix of market-rate housing, as long as a percentage is set aside for low-income families.
"We're looking to see what could be proposed," Matthews said. "We know there are a lot of different financing options. We want to see what opportunities are out there. If there's a mixed-income proposal, we would want it to create a sense of space and a sense of community."
Osceola County has more than 1,900 homeless families, and most of them live in motels on the tourism corridor.
"We know affordable housing is at an all-time low, as far as the number of units available," Matthews said. "This project stemmed from a long, much-needed desire to add affordable housing for those who are precariously housed. We identified this site a few years ago."
The 19 acres is divided among three parcels, two of which are owned by Toho Water Authority. The land is next to Aspire Health Partners' HOME community, a transitional housing development for homeless mothers and their families.
"We see that as an opportunity to create some synergy to provide a continuum of housing for those residents," Matthews said.
The development site is currently zoned for utilities and single-family residential. The developer would need to apply for rezoning.
The solicitation is open to nonprofit housing providers and developers experienced in utilizing Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The city is looking for a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units and the rents must comply with HUD rates for low-income and very low-income families.
Extra preference may be given to projects that meet green building standards.
There is no federal or state subsidy to offset rents, but the city may offer financial assistance to tenants during the initial lease-up through its HUD-funded Rapid Rehousing program. That program provides homeless families with deposits and temporary rental assistance.
The site is adjacent to a new section of the Shingle Creek Regional Trail, which connects to the downtown lakefront and north to Shingle Creek. It's also just a half mile north of the 153-acre Lancaster Ranch property, which the city purchased last year for a regional park.
Responses are due to the city's purchasing coordinator by 3 p.m. on Feb. 21. Full documents can be found at the city's Open Bids webpage.