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Osceola County Developments

Osceola Commission commits $26.75M to a trio of affordable housing projects

Birdsong Housing Partners will build 354 units of affordable housing on land adjacent to the Poinciana SunRail Station.

Osceola Commissioners approved expenditures of $26.75 million to go to three affordable housing communities that will add nearly 500 apartments for low-income families and seniors.

County Manager Don Fisher said the board has proven its commitment to addressing the need for affordable housing with hard dollars. The votes Monday approved funding on top of the $30 million the county has spent over the last five years.

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“Over the past few years, since 2016, the commission has approved over 1,024 units — not including rental assistance, utility assistance, acquisition of properties and food assistance,” Fisher said. “So if anybody ever questions your commitment to providing affordable units, I believe the proof is in the numbers and the proof is in the money that has been brought forward toward these projects.”

The framework plan divides the site into 14 blocks, including the Sunray Junction property. The first 100 units of affordable housing would be slated for block 8 with future phases in blocks 1 and 2.

The largest of the projects, Falcon Trace II, has been in the works for over two years — since the county bought 82 acres immediately north of the Poinciana SunRail Station for $8 million. On Monday, commissioners allocated another $14.75 to the project, which will bring 354 units of workforce housing to the station area.

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Affordable housing specialist Birdsong Housing Partners was chosen in 2020 as the development partner for the mixed-use, transit-friendly project. The community, a follow-up to Birdsong’s Falcon Trace community in Hunter Creek, will be built in three city blocks within the station area.

The project was delayed for a year because Birdsong was not selected in 2021 for 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. The developer secured the LIHTC financing, $42.88 million, from Florida Housing Finance Corporation this year. In addition, Birdsong received a $6.6 million SAIL loan from the state, which will go to reimburse the county for the property.

The first phase of Cameron Preserve consisted of 100 affordable workforce housing units for families living in W192 motels.

The first 100 units will be constructed on Lot 8 immediately north of the SunRail Station. The rest will be built in Lots 1 and 2, just south of a new school site on Poinciana Boulevard. Construction is scheduled to begin in September 2023.

Birdsong also scored $8.2 million from the county to pay for the second phase of Cameron Preserve, a community on Yates Road intended to serve the homeless or people living in W192 hotels. The first phase was a $23 million multifamily community completed in 2019 that created 100 affordable units for low- and very-low-income families.

The county had already committed $5.5 million toward a second phase that would expand the project by another 80 units. FHFC is supporting it with up to $12 million in bonds. This week commissioners allocated another $2.3 million in gap financing to help cover the increase in construction costs since the initial agreement was approved.

The Osceola County Council on Aging will build a one-story apartment community for 60 low-income seniors in the Buena Ventura Lakes community.

Cameron Point is one of four affordable and mixed-income communities either completed or in the works in the Shingle Creek area between Yates and Old Vineland roads. Atlantic Housing Partners completed Vineland Landings, a 377-unit mixed-income community, in 2018. Dominium’s Heron Ridge, a 331-unit affordable senior housing community, will open this year. And just north of that, Banyan Development Group is seeking LIHTC for 192 workforce housing units.

The third project to receive county funding has been on the books for the Buena Ventura Lakes community (BVL) for more than a decade. The Osceola County Council on Aging has committed to developing 60 units of affordable senior housing on 6.6 acres of former golf course property on Competition Drive. The plan calls for 10 one-story buildings, each with six one-bedroom apartments, and a community garden in the center. A separate office building will have a community room and congregate dining area for residents.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development non-profit construction funds in the amount of $5,691,439.00 and $335,160.00 in operational support for the Buen Vecino apartments. Osceola Commissioners agreed to supplement that with $3.8 million, to be paid in equal installments over three years.

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Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @byLauraKinsler. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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