UPDATED: NOVEMBER 9, 2016 9:27 AM — Local faith-based nonprofitNew Beginnings is nearing the construction phase on a 96-unit affordable apartment complex in Clermont and has yet to choose a general contractor, the group's CEO told GrowthSpotter.
Planned for 9.66 acres on the east side of S. Grand Highway and south of Citrus Tower Boulevard, New Beginnings bought the land in 2014 with funds from Florida Housing Finance Corporation.
The group has worked for several years to get to the construction phase of the complex, which will be called The Woodwinds, said CEO Steve Smith. It will be the first affordable rental apartments built in Clermont in two decades, he added.
This summer, Florida Housing Finance Corporation awarded funding to only three groups in the state to build affordable workforce housing for formerly homeless and low-income wage earners.
One of the three, a $19 million grant, was awarded to New Beginnings in partnership with Blue Sky Communities, an experienced multifamily affordable housing developer. Construction is expected to start in early 2017, Smith said.
Design work for the complex is now underway, and the developer filed permit applications in late October with the St. John's River Water Management District. One-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and a clubhouse is planned.
Clermont-based architect Jeff Powell is working on the project. Contractors have not been chosen yet, Smith said.
Rents will range from $550 to $750 a month, more than 30 percent less than current market rental rates in Clermont, said Smith. The current two-bedroom apartment in Clermont and West Orange County costs more than $1,000 a month on average.
The need for such housing is clear. Osprey Ridge Apartments in Clermont was built with state tax credit funding in 2001 and now has a two-year waiting list, Smith said. He's now seeking more sites for affordable housing in Orange County.
In addition to affordable housing, New Beginnings residents will also have access to specialty classes including budgeting, parenting, wellness, medical advice, life skills and job training, Smith said.