A Winter Park developer with a long track record of building affordable housing in Volusia County has broken ground on a new mixed-use project in the heart of downtown DeLand.
Atlantic Housing Partners will replace the old Save-a-Lot store and a law office with 180 workforce rental units with ground-floor commercial space fronting Woodland Avenue. The DeLand City Council approved the final site plan in January.
AHP Principal Scott Culp told GrowthSpotter DeLand Commons has been a team effort from the developer and city leaders to create a vibrant downtown.
“So we’ve worked several years with the city to go through the process of one acquiring all the property, which we’ve done, and then working with the city on getting the plan approved that they would say fits well with their downtown,” Culp said.
The rents will be set at slightly below market rate luxury units. “We really are intending it and targeting the workforce, where I guess a lot of people are branding these days as attainable housing, which may not qualify under any of the federal or state programs as affordable housing,” Culp said. “But it’s really that missing middle, where people really need quality housing, in close proximity to their jobs, and where they want to eat dinner and spend time, shop, those kinds of things.”
The 5.3-acre site is located directly adjacent to the Downtown Historic District and the Historic Garden District. The plan from Madden, Moorhead & Stokes consists of four building types: a mixed-use building, an apartment building, a townhouse building and a few carriage-style units.
Slocum Platts led the design work with landscape architect Foster, Conant & Associates. Culp said the mixed-use building, which has 60 residential units and 11 commercial bays, makes the project special.
“So I think it’s a fairly unique opportunity to see something in a smaller market, becoming a downtown live-work mixed-use type environment,” he said. “We see that in the City of Orlando, like in Creative Village and other areas. But this I think is somewhat unique for a smaller community like the land so we see it as a great opportunity.”
The developer plans to leave those units unfinished and then complete the interior buildout to the specifications of the tenant. The concept is similar to the live-work units Atlantic Housing Partners built at Amelia Court in Creative Village.
“Yeah, those actually work really well,” Culp said. “I’ve got a financial advisor, accountant and a photographer — and that works well for them to be able to meet people have their office to do business there and not have to rent another space when they’re kind of a sole proprietor. But this space in DeLand is a little different than that. There’ll be an opportunity for people to come in and say, Okay, this is what I like to see in a design. If they want to do live-work, we’ll help them design a live-work environment.”
Dean Price, broker-owner of Global Realty Company, will lead the commercial leasing for the commercial space.
Building 2 is an L-shaped building at the corner of Vorhees and S. Alabama Avenue with 80 units plus the common amenities. Building 3 will comprise five townhomes, each with three bedrooms and a single-car garage fronting Vorhees. The two carriage homes will be just south of the townhomes and each will have two bedrooms and garage parking.
“We’ll have a fairly minimal common space back in Building 2 with some fitness and community space amenities,” Culp said. “We consider the downtown to be the amenity — the walkability of what’s really close to downtown. And that’s what we’re really focused on here with people that want to live and be a part of a vibrant downtown community.”
Culp said GG Canton Construction is wrapping up the demolition and environmental abatement on the site and will start construction as soon as permits are issued.
Atlantic Housing Partners has other Central Florida projects in various stages of the development pipeline. The firm partnered again with Creative Village master developer, Ustler Development, and Bank of America CDC for the second mixed-income housing community, a follow-up to Amelia Court.
Culp said 80% of the units at Amelia Court are rent-restricted for low-income or very low-income tenants. At The Beacon, they hope to make as many as 90% of the units affordable. The unrestricted units will still be attainable or below market rate.
The 194-unit apartment building will be built at the southeast corner of Amelia Street and Parramore Avenue is the current home of the Orlando Tennis Center, which is being relocated to The Packing District Park.
The project was awarded Low Income Housing Tax Credits over two funding cycles by the Florida Housing Finance Authority to complete construction. The developers are waiting for the end of the appeal process to advance to the next step of permitting.
In Lake County, Commissioners approved a rezoning request from Atlantic Housing last year for a mixed-income community at 1757 Bay Rd. overlooking Lake Saunders. The project will contain 165 apartments and 10 single-family homes, each with an attached garage apartment, known as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU).
“We have the PUD approved and the concept plan approved, and we’re not rushing to construction on that one,” Culp said. “We’re looking at where the market is, what was happening globally with regard to the economy and interest rates. And so although we own it, and we’re proceeding with it, we’re not in a rush on that one.”
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