In an effort to meet the urgent need of filling the affordable housing shortage in Escambia County, a host of developers are proposing more than $100 million in new affordable housing developments in Pensacola.
The developments — all catered towards providing housing for families living below the poverty line — are currently being vetted by Escambia County as they each seek an allocation of public funds for their approval.
Developers are asking Escambia County to allocate $37,500 this week for each of the proposed developments applying for approval of financing by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, which is charged with providing financing and affordable housing opportunities for Floridians.
Each development is seeking public financing as part of the State Apartment Incentive Loan financing program offered by the FHFC. No county funds will be allocated unless projects are approved by the state.
The six developments are proposed to offer between 70 and 130 housing units each that range from one to three bedroom and would be rented between $300 and $1,000 per month.
In substantiating the need for affordable housing, the county housing commission points to the nearly 2,000 Escambia County residents waiting for Section 8 housing vouchers or on the housing authority’s waiting list. Developers of the projects contend that this demand for affordable housing is acknowledgment for the need to fill the affordable housing gap in Pensacola.
Among the six developments, two focus on the redevelopment of properties near downtown. For decades, Pensacola’s westside and Brownsville neighborhoods have been wasting away in a development famine. The Delphin Downs project proposed at the site of the recently demolished old motor court lodge on West Cervantes Street is one of them, which the county’s housing authority has praised as a prime opportunity for such a development.
“The Delphin Downs development would have a tremendous impact on the Westside neighborhood and would provide people with an opportunity to live somewhat near downtown at reasonable rental rates and recommended approval,” said Mark Hendrickson of the Hendrickson Company, a consultant for the housing authority.
Beginning this week, the FHFC will rank the proposed developments — along with others proposed throughout the state — by a host of criteria ranging from access to community resources and technology, proximity to public transportation, and implementation of green design. The selected projects competing for more than $75 million in FHFC funds will be announced in December.
The proposed developments are listed below:
Project location: 1717 W Cervantes Street
Developer: Southport Development, Inc
Number of units: 72
Project cost: $13.5 million
Project location: 625 E Olive Road
Developer: REA Ventures Group
Number of units: 128
Project cost: $17.7 million
The Place at P Street
Project location: 1201 North P Street
Developer:Southport Development, Inc
Number of units: 88
Project cost: $15.5 million
Project location: 3130 W Fairfield Drive
Developer: Miller Valentine Group
Number of units: 120
Project cost: $20 million
Project location: 5406 Lillian Highway
Developer: Banyan Development Group LLC
Number of units: 110
Project cost: $17.3 million
No renderings available
Project location: 9701 Chemstrand Road
Developer: Royal American Development, Inc
Number of units: 106
Project cost: $20.8 million