Aging baby boomers and other low-income seniors have a new place to call home in a prime location in downtown West Palm Beach, Fla.

Eastwind Development Group built its 85-unit affordable seniors housing community, Evernia Place, on five vacant lots at the corner of Sapodilla Avenue and Evernia Street in downtown West Palm Beach, Fla.
Courtesy Eastwind Development GroupEastwind Development Group built its 85-unit affordable seniors housing community, Evernia Place, on five vacant lots at the corner of Sapodilla Avenue and Evernia Street in downtown West Palm Beach, Fla.

The 85-unit Evernia Place, developed by Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.–based Eastwind Development Group, was the first project to emerge in an undeveloped area of the downtown, replacing five empty lots, and has been a catalyst for other development in the neighborhood.

The transit-oriented development, with trolley and bus stops just steps away, is near shopping, services, parks, and the waterfront. The local Publix grocery store is within walking distance.

Completed in October 2014, Evernia Place also focuses on enhancing residents’ lives. Residents can take advantage of the pool where swimming classes are offered twice a year, a clubhouse where daily and weekly activities and games take place, and a fitness center where residents can take classes such as Zumba. Additional activities are offered quarterly, such as classes catering to financial counseling, insurance, and health needs.

“It provides these people with an environment where they can really blossom and enjoy their lives a lot more,” says Sandy Shindle, regional property manager with Lincoln Property Co., which manages Evernia Place. “The activities are designed to keep them engaged, active, and moving around people of their own ages.”

Amenities at Evernia Place include a pool, a clubhouse, and a fitness center. Seniors also can participate in daily and weekly activities, including book clubs, fitness and dance classes, movie nights, and health workshops.
Courtesy Eastwind Development GroupAmenities at Evernia Place include a pool, a clubhouse, and a fitness center. Seniors also can participate in daily and weekly activities, including book clubs, fitness and dance classes, movie nights, and health workshops.

Evernia Place also provides quality housing for seniors with limited incomes. The rents for the one- and two-bedroom units are approximately 50% less than market-rate rents in the West Palm Beach market. Ninety percent of the units serve senior households earning 60% of the area median income (AMI), while the remaining units are targeted for very low-income residents earning 28% or less of the AMI. More than a year after opening, the development remains 100% occupied with a waiting list.

Energy-efficient features also help to reduce residents’ utility cost burdens. The development received green building certification through the Florida Green Building Coalition and meets the requirements of the Energy Star New Homes program.

“We have a significant amount of energy-efficient systems in place, including Energy Star appliances and water conservation features,” says Stephanie Miller, director of asset management for Eastwind. “It’s been a great experience for us and a cost savings for residents.”

The $20.5 million development was financed primarily by low-income housing tax credits allocated by Florida Housing Finance Corp. and syndicated by RBC Capital Markets’ Tax Credit Equity Group. It also received HOME loan funds from the city of West Palm Beach as well as a deferral of a portion of the developer fees.

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