At a vulnerable point in life, many seniors must find an affordable place to live. But searching for a nice place that’s affordable is a daunting process. Retirement communities, often requiring big entry fees plus monthly fees, can cost more than what many fixed-income seniors can handle. In Opa-locka, a low-income senior rental housing project is underway: Town Center Apartments.
“There’s a real need for low-income elderly housing in Opa-locka,” said Alberto Milo, affordable housing developer at Related Urban Development Group. “We believe that Town Center Apartments will serve as redevelopment catalyst for the City of Opa-locka’s Downtown District,” Milo wrote in a letter to the city.
Elected officials approved the development project in September. Changes to Opa-locka’s comprehensive plan are under review with Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity. Opa-locka officials will vote on adopting the changes in October.
The 192-unit complex serves the city’s vision of a transit oriented development corridor. Within walking distance to the city’s tri-rail station, metro bus and city transit services, the complex is slated on a vacant lot and city-owned parcel at the corner of Fisherman Street and Sharazad Boulevard.
The proposed development consists of two phases. A “shovel ready” phase one, according to the developer, consists of 122 one-bedroom units, renting at $537 monthly, and five two-bedroom apartments, costing $639 a month. Phase two of the project, which still needs funding, includes 4,890 sq. ft. of retail space on the lower levels and 65 apartment units on upper floors. Both complexes will have energy efficient appliances and fixtures, insulated hurricane impact windows, and state-of-the art amenities such as a multi-purpose room, laundry facility, computer and library rooms.
Funding for the $19 million dollar phase-one project includes: $7.739 million already awarded from Miami-Dade County Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a state tax credit and bond financing. Once ground breaks, the development is expected to bring in over $617,975 revenue to the City of Opa-locka in 2013.
“The city’s making progress on bringing needed development to the community,” said City Manager Kelvin L. Baker. “We’re looking at all our options.”