Speaking at The Kravis Center, President and CEO of Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County Suzanne Cabrera said residents who are elderly, disabled or have special needs sometimes pay more than 80 percent of their income on housing.
Suzanne Cabrera fields an array of phone calls from people desperate for an affordable place to live in her position as president and CEO of Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County.
“I get a lot of calls from the elderly,” she told an audience of perhaps 400 people at a Kravis Center luncheon sponsored by the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. “But the second-highest category is parents saying I need my kid to move out of the house. We don’t have basements in Florida where your kids can live with your forever,” she said to laughter.
Cabrera was on a panel that provided a lot more sobering assessments than laughs when discussing the causes and potential solutions to affordable housing in Palm Beach County.
Ideally, nobody should be paying more than 30 percent of their income for Cabrera said. But according to data she provided, more than 250,000 Palm Beach County households spent more than that percentage, with 135,000 of them spending more than 50 percent of income toward housing. Residents who are elderly, disabled or have special needs sometimes pay more than 80 percent of their income on housing.
The average home price in Palm Beach County is $350,000, so a household would need an income of more than $116,000 in order to spend less than 30 percent on its housing costs, Cabrera said. The average rent of $1,620 would require an income of more than $58,000 to not exceed the 30-percent threshold.
The county’s population has grown 12 percent in the past 10 years, and housing units have not kept pace, said Jack Weir, president of Eastwind Development Group. “We’re just not producing that many units, across the board. “West Palm Beach is trying to attract financial services companies … and those businesses are not going to come here and the businesses here are not going to be able to grow if they can’t have housing for their folks who are working.”
Panelists said the problem would be less dire if the state legislature didn’t divert vast sums of money intended for the construction and retrofitting of affordable housing to other programs. Known as the State Housing (or Sadowski) Trust Fund, it was created in 1992 by having doc stamps on all real estate transactions being earmarked for the fund. The hotter the real estate market, the more money would be generated for affordable housing.
In the past nine years, according to Cabrera’s data, Palm Beach County has contributed $251.9 million from doc stamps, but $157.7 million has been diverted by legislators for other purposes.
In the last fiscal year alone, the county could have received $17 million from the doc stamp revenue, Weir said. “Instead, it got $2 million. “One of the first things the Legislature could do is treat it as a trust fund and not a slush fund.”
Weir urged the audience to push legislators to use the fund for its intended purpose. Another solution, he said, is issuing bonds. Miami-Dade County issued a $400 million bond, with $100 million designated for affordable housing. The city of Miami has issued $85 million in bonds for affordable housing. Orange County has established a $160 million fund over 10 years designed to create 30,000 affordable housing units, he said.
“It may be time for Palm Beach County to think about a dedicated funding source for affordable and workforce housing,” Weir added.
Short-term solutions, Weir said, include cities providing density bonuses for a percentage of new units to be built for workforce housing, reductions or waivers of some building fees in return for some units being set aside for affordable or workforce housing, and low-interest loans from municipalities to developers of such properties.
The county does some of these things, said Jonathan B. Brown, director of the Palm Beach County Department of Housing and Economic Sustainability. “It’s not just the county,” he said. “There has to be assistance from the municipalities. You would probably be surprised at the number of municipalities that don’t even have a housing department or a housing division.”
Based on survey done more than a year ago, 80 percent of county employees qualified for the workforce housing program, Brown said. The figure tops 90 percent for teachers, he added.
“Our own employees are not being able to find housing,” said another panel member, Wellington mayor Anne Gerwig. “We have adjusted some pay because of that. If you can’t live in the community you work in, it creates a whole other problem with transportation.”
Brown reminded the audience that employed homeless people living in their vehicles also need to be considered when discussing affordable housing. “That’s a population that we don’t want to forget about. They are part of this community and we need to make sure that we’re vigilant in addressing housing for our homeless population.”
Weir said another partial solution to the housing crisis in the future is mixed use developments. “One of the most exciting frontiers right now is redevelopment and repurposing of existing retail centers and commercial space,” he said, citing older shopping centers with vacant retail units along U.S. 1, Dixie Highway and Military Trail.
“A lot of those can be re-purposed and turned into mixed-use centers where they have housing, they have retail, they have restaurants, they have office,” Weir said. “We’re doing one of those developments in another county. That’s going to be a ready source of new housing units, a fair share of which will be affordable or workforce housing in the coming years.”
An apartment complex has broken ground at City Centre in Palm Beach Gardens after the developers secured a $24 million construction loan.
M&T Bank awarded the mortgage to City Centre Housing, an affiliate of Palm
Beach Gardens-based Eastwind Development Group and Prague, Czech Republicbased ICP. It funded the Solera at City Centre apartments on the southwest side of City Centre, which sat 2000 PGA Blvd.
Verdex Construction recently filed notice with the county that it started
construction on the project.
Solera at City Centre will have 136 apartments in four stories. Amenities would
include a pool, a clubhouse, and a central courtyard. Ten percent of the units will be for workforce housing.
The developers acquired the 3.2-acre site for $4.25 million in October 2019.
City Centre currently has 99,063 square feet of retail, offices and restaurants, so having apartments there could drive more traffic to the commercial tenants.
A new project, The District Flats rental community is coming to in West Palm Beach’s popular Warehouse District. The 178-unit multifamily development will be located at 1050 Blanche Street and will be a key addition to a neighborhood that has become a favorite destination for millennials… of all ages!
The District Flats will feature a modern-industrial designed, four-story building surrounding a central courtyard, swimming pool and deck area; a three-story building surrounding a garden amphitheater; and a three-level, 250-space parking garage enhanced by a large mural at the entry. A dog park and a public park at the south end of the site is planned, and the project will also include 2,700 sq. ft. of commercial space that will be home to a stylish cafe. There will be 26 studio apartments; 86 one-bedroom, one-bath units; and 48 two-bedroom, two-bath apartments, along with a 3,000 sq. ft. clubhouse.
“This project will not only answer the growing need for housing around Downtown West Palm Beach but will also help solidify the Warehouse District as the city’s next hub of urban activity,” said Jack Weir, founder and managing principal of Eastwind Development. “We see great things ahead for both Palm Beach County and the City of West Palm Beach.”
Designed by MSA Architects, with Verdex Construction as the general contractor, The District Flats is located south of the trendy Grandview Public Market food hall and other nearby retail and entertainment outlets like Steel Tie Distillery, Steam Horse Brewing Company and Surfing Florida Museum.
All units will feature nine-foot ceilings, keyless door entries, programmable thermostats, tile & wood plank flooring, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, pendant light fixtures, bedroom ceiling fans and energy and water conservation features designed to lower monthly resident utility bills.
The development will also feature a set-aside for workforce housing. Twenty (20%) percent (36 units) in the community will be set aside for households with an annual income equal or less than 140% of the 2018 annual median income (AM I) for Palm Beach County for studios ($75,460 income), 1 BR units ($80,850 income) and 2 BR units ($97,020 income) at the time of initial leasing, Rents for the workforce housing units are not projected to be lower than market rents. The workforce housing restrictions will last for a period of 15 years.
The first modern apartment building has broken ground in the Warehouse District of West Palm Beach.
Located on the outskirts of downtown, the collection of warehouses along Clare Avenue and Elizabeth Avenue are transitioning from industrial use to dining and entertainment. That has made it a more attractive place to live. Synovus Bank boosted its mortgage to Warehouse District Flats LLC, an affiliate of Palm Beach Gardens-based Eastwind Development Group, from $3 million to $30.5 million. It covers the 5.53-acre site at 1630, 1710, 1940 and 1980 Clare Ave. The 55,519 square feet of warehouses there will be demolished.
Eastwind Development Group plans to build Ois1rict Flats In West Palm Beach. Verdex Construction recently filed notice with the county that it started construction of 178 apartments and 2,700 square feet of commercial space there. The buildings will rise three and four stories, with a parking garage between them. Ron Roan, VP of development and acquisitions at Eastwind, said the project should be completed in about 15 months.
“It’s going to be a real shot in the arm to the neighborhood,” Roan said. “There is already the exciting retail there. Our intent is to provide good quality housing with good proximity the retail. It should help the whole area grow.” The developer pledged to make 36 of the apartments there workforce housing, with rents set for households earning no more than 140 percent of median income. Units would range from 550 to 1,000 square feet. There would be 26 studios, 86 units with one bedroom, 18 units with one bedroom and a den, and 48 units with two bedrooms.
Roan said the smaller apartments would rent for about $1,500, while the larger two-bedroom units would rent for around $2,300. For the commercial space, Eastwind developer is seeking a coffee shop with a unique theme, he added. The amenities would include an interior pool courtyard with cabanas, a garden courtyard, a dog park and a public art park on the south side of the project.
District Flats was designed by MSA Architects. The developer acquired the property in two deals for a combined $5.17 million in April.
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Eastwind Development Group and ICP have purchased land within the City Centre commercial center in Palm Beach Gardens, where they plan to build apartments. City Centre Associates LLC, managed by Brian K. Waxman of AW Property, sold 3.2 acres for $4.25 million to City Centre Housing LLC, an affiliate of Palm Beach Gardens-based Eastwind Development Group and Prague, Czech Republic-based ICP. It’s on the southwest side of City Centre, a 99,063-square-foot retail, office and restaurant complex at 2000 PGA Blvd.
Law form Mathison Whittles LLP represented the buyers in the deal. The vacant property last traded for $1.55 million in 2017. CO~i’, l A~CHITECTS The So!era at City Centre apartments in Palm Beach Gardens would have 136 units. Eastwind Development, led by John F. Weir, said it plans to build Solera at City Centre with 136 apartments in four stories. Amenities would include a pool, a clubhouse, and a central courtyard. Ten percent of the units will be for workforce housing, the developer said.
The city has already approved the project. The developer plans to break ground in December.
South Florida Business Journal
Lloyd Jones, a Miami-based multifamily investment firm, has purchased Ventura Pointe, a Class A residential community in Pembroke Pines, Fla., from seller Eastwind Development, according to Yardi Matrix data. The firm paid $55.6 million for the recently built community, which was completed last year.
Eastwind Development has received initial approval from Palm Beach Gardens City Council to build the Solera at City Centre apartment complex in commercial development at PGA Boulevard and US.1. The apartment building would include 136 units, 14 of them priced for working people.
Posted Apr 13, 2019 at 11:15 AM Updated Apr 13, 2019 at 11:15 AM
The current surge in new luxury apartment projects does nothing to fill the Daytona Beach area’s need for more affordable housing, but local observer G.G. Galloway believes it could be helping address another chronic problem.
“For years, our greatest export has been our young people,” said the longtime commercial Realtor, referring to the “brain drain” trend of homegrown talent leaving to pursue opportunities in larger metro areas.
“Now we’re starting to keep our greatest asset, the young minds being educated right here,” said Galloway, a partner with Coldwell Banker Commercial Benchmark Properties in Ormond Beach. “An aging community dies. We need to keep our young people here.”
Keys to attracting and retaining young professionals include creating more high-paying jobs such as the ones being offered at companies like Daytona Beach-based Brown & Brown Insurance, Ormond Beach-based Security First Insurance, both of which are building new headquarters in the area, as well as medical products manufacturer B.Braun.
Other keys include opportunities for millennials to connect with one another, such as the Volusia and Ormond young professionals groups and the need for amenities such as a greater selection of shopping, dining and entertainment options, which are being created in places like Tanger Outlets and Tomoka Town Center shopping centers as well as the One Daytona complex across from Daytona International Speedway.
But there is also the need for housing options that can appeal to young professionals.
That’s where luxury apartments, such as the new Tomoka Pointe Apartments set to welcome its first new tenants next to Tomoka Town Center, and Icon One Daytona Apartments along International Speedway Boulevard come in.
Christian Harris, 22, is an account executive with Brown & Brown who has enlisted two friends, both also in their twenties, to become roommates with him in one of the first apartment units at Tomoka Pointe.
“We’ll be renting a 3-bedroom, 2-bath unit for $1,680 a month, not including utilities,” he said, adding that he and his roommates looked at several housing options including the possibility of renting an older existing single-family house.
“Why rent a house where everything is old and you have to keep up the lawn when I can pay less and live in a luxury apartment where everything is taken care of,” he said.
“In the future, I will buy a house, but at this time you can’t beat the price of living in an apartment in that kind of area,” he said, referring to the I-95/LPGA area where an abundance of retail stores, restaurants and entertainment venues are either within walking distance or a short drive away.
“We’re going to be in the heart of the LPGA area where there’s a ton of stuff to do, restaurants and Dave & Buster’s (etc.),” he said.
He added that he and his soon-to-be-future roommates, including a marketing analyst with Brown & Brown and the co-owner of a software firm, were also past roommates, although not all three at the same time, when they were students at Florida State University.
“I could get a 1-bedroom, 1-bath unit by myself, but I enjoy living with other people,” Harris said, adding that they expect to move into their new apartment in May.
While luxury apartments are also planned to be built in downtown Daytona Beach where Brown & Brown is slated to open its new headquarters campus on North Beach Street late next year, Harris said he anticipates continuing to live at Tomoka Pointe, which is just a few-minutes commute from work.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I’ll definitely be spending summer weekends down at the (Tomoka Pointe community) pool/grill area.”
By Brian Bandell – Senior Reporter,
South Florida Business Journal;
Eastwind Development Group has taken over and redesigned the first major apartment project planned in the Warehouse District of West Palm Beach. Located on the outskirts of downtown, the collection of warehouses along Clare Avenue and Elizabeth Avenue is transitioning from industrial use to dining and entertainment.
In December, a group of six buildings housing a food hall, a brewery, retail and co-working space in the district sold for $18.5 million.
John “Jack” F. Weir, president of Palm Beach Gardens-based Eastwind Development, said he likes what’s going on in the West Palm Beach Warehouse District, as it reminds him of the Wynwood Arts District in Miami and 12 South near Nashville. When an opportunity became available in the neighborhood, he jumped on it.
“The missing piece has really been residential in this area,” Weir said.; Developers Peter Cummings and Julie F. Cummings had the 5.53-acre site at 1630, 1710, 1940 and 1980 Clare Ave. under contract from Murphy Construction Co. and Jamco Inc.
The property currently has 55,519 square feet of warehouses. The Cummings’ successfully rezoned the property for apartments with ground-floor retail in 2018. It had a cube block design. A broker approached Eastwind Development in fall 2018 and said the Cummings wanted to sell their contract on the property, Weir said. Eastwind Development acquired the deal from them for enough money to cover the Cummings expenses, plus a bit extra, Weir said.
Now, Eastwind Development has filed an amended site plan for the project with a new design and the same density, called District Flats. The project would have 178 apartments and 2,700 square feet of commercial space in buildings of three and four stories.
A parking garage would be placed in between the two buildings. The Cummings’ design had apartments surrounding the garage, but Weir said it was more economically feasible to have mesh walls around the garage so it had better ventilation.
“We wanted something that had a little bit of restored warehouse look but was also a little more finished,” Weir said.
The developer pledged to make 36 of the apartments there workforce housing, with rents set for households earning no more than 140 percent of median income. Units would range from 550 to 1,000 square feet. There would be 26 studios, 86 units with one bedroom, 18 units with one bedroom and a den, and 48 units with two bedrooms.
The amenities would include an interior pool courtyard with cabanas, a garden courtyard, a dog park and a public art park on the south side of the project.; As for the commercial space, Weir would like to see a coffee roasting company there. There would also be 1,000 square feet of outdoor seating.
District Flats was designed by MSA Architects.
Weir expects his new site plan to go before the city Planning Commission in February and the City Commission in March. He hopes to break ground this summer.
Vice President of Asset Management at Eastwind Development LLC
Eastwind Development, LLC, a developer of multifamily rental housing based in Palm Beach Gardens, has promoted Stephanie Miller to Vice President of Asset Management, effective as of January 1, 2019. Ms. Miller joined the company in 2015 and has served as Director of Asset Management for the last four years, overseeing the Eastwind portfolio and supervising the property management companies retained by the company.