One of Osceola County's leading developers of affordable multifamily housing will build an 80-unit apartment complex less than a mile from the NeoCity high-tech district.
Birdsong Housing Partners is under contract to buy 11.6 acres at the intersection of Simpson Road and East U.S. 192, near the Florida's Turnpike interchange. The firm was awarded a competitive low-interest loan from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to build Gannet Pointe, permanent housing for individuals and families now living in motels along the county's West 192 tourist corridor and people with special needs.
"Osceola County is committed to finding housing for families living in the W192 motels," Birdsong CEO Steve Auger told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday.
Additional financing was provided from a special earmark in the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program for families coming out of homelessness, Auger said.
"We’re in the design phase now," Auger said. "We hope to be closing on this development later this year or in the first quarter of 2019."
A preliminary site plan filed with Osceola County in April showed a mix of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units with a community pool and clubhouse. Forum Architecture & Interior Design is leading the design.
The NeoCity/Valencia College area has attracted several luxury market rate apartments that are in various stages of development. But this is the first affordable multifamily development to be approved so close to the tech district.
Birdsong Principal Domingo Sanchez first targeted the E192 site, which is owned by Schoolfield Properties, for an affordable workforce housing project back in 2016. The vacant land is next-door to the Osceola County Council on Aging.
"From a state perspective, it had everything we needed," Auger said. "It has really good access to public transportation."
In that cycle, Sanchez also sought Low Income Housing Tax Credits and tax-free bonds for five Osceola County sites. Birdsong was picked for 120 units of affordable senior housing and 100 units of family housing in Bellalago, near Valencia College's new Poinciana campus. Both of those communities are currently under construction.
Auger said Birdsong is partnering with Ability Housing, a Jacksonville-based nonprofit that specializes in permanent supporting housing for the homeless, on the Gannet Pointe project.
Ability Housing is also redeveloping three boarded up apartment complexes in downtown Orlando's Mercy Drive into 166 new units for limited income families and homeless individuals.