Osceola County planners are reviewing a flurry of prospective affordable housing projects this month as developers rush to submit tax credit applications in time for the Florida Housing Finance Corporation's Nov. 17 deadline.
Titan Land Company President Domingo Sanchez had five potential sites under review in Kissimmee and Poinciana for both affordable family and senior housing tax credit projects. This week he submitted two more projects -- both expansions to existing senior housing communities in Poinciana.
Sanchez will seek tax credits to add at least 74 units at Vista Del Sol and Tierra Pointe. "Both of these projects are going to be second phases to what's already there," he told planners via teleconference Wednesday.
He said the stormwater pond and amenities are already in place, but he may file a PD amendment to reduce the required parking on site. Senior housing developments already have less required parking -- 1.5 spaces per unit -- than standard multifamily developments. But Sanchez wants it reduced to 1.25 spaces per unit.
"Our residents now only use about 40 to 50 percent of the parking spaces," he explained.
The competitive 9-percent tax credits are offered just once a year, and FHFC typically awards one project per county. That's why developers and planners refer to the program as a lottery, and try to improve their odds by filing multiple applications in a single county.
Gardner Capital, which joint ventured with the Sanford Housing Authority to redevelop its former Redding Gardens site, won that lottery earlier this year. The Redding project will add 90 one-bedroom senior apartments.
Gardner is submitting three Osceola sites for the 2017 funding cycle.
"It's a competitive process," Development Associate Kevin Fitzpatrick told GrowthSpotter. "It's hard to tell what kind of odds we have. Osceola is historically a high submittal county, I think last year they had eight from Osceola."
One site on W192 near the Polk County line is proposed for 60 units (20 one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units) with a fitness center, business center and "resort-style swimming pool."
County planners said it would be difficult to get an approved site plan because much of the eight-acre site is classified as a Class-A wetland, which means it cannot be developed or mitigated.
Two sites targeted for senior affordable housing have environmental and access issues. A five-acre site on Goodman Road, just east of ChampionsGate, would be slated for 90 units plus amenities.
Fitzpatrick said Gardner would provide complimentary private transportation to and from grocery stores and doctor appointments. Gardner will also pitch a 14.4-acre site just outside of Reunion Resort for 120 units, plus amenities and transportation.
All of the Gardner projects would be designed with sustainable and environmentally-friendly features, and would offer educational services and lifeguard certification. These types of add-ons can boost an application in the competitive bid process.
Tampa-based Southport Financial Services will also venture into Osceola in hopes of winning one of the lucrative tax credit awards. Michael Molinari, senior vice president of acquisitions, said the company has a contract on 7.8 acres near the intersection of Shady Lane and Lepic Lane (behind the Zenith Career Center).
Southport is proposing a 96-unit family affordable complex with a mix of two-bedroom and three-bedroom garden-style apartments. The community would be named Lucida Creek, and would feature a community clubhouse, playground and shuffleboard court.
The site lies in the new Tech Transitional Zone of the E192 Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) District. That zone has some of the strictest building requirements in the new design ordinance that goes into effect this month.
County planners said that if Southport "wins the lottery" the developer would have to redesign the project to comply with the new regulations.