The Grand in downtown West Palm promises affordable housing

WEST PALM BEACH – Construction has started on The Grand, an eight-story building in the northwestern neighborhood of West Palm Beach that will offer hundreds of below-market rental units at a time of high prices, luxury condominiums and homes are sprouting up all over Palm Beach County.

The $ 81 million building, located between Second and Third Streets along Rosemary Avenue, is slated for completion in the spring of 2023. It will include 301 apartments and eight townhouses, with retail space on the ground floor. pavement.

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Two-thirds of rental units – 206 in total – will be offered at below-market rents under the city’s Workforce Housing Program, which aims to provide affordable housing for middle-income workers who cannot afford the rising rental costs of Palm Beach County.

The developer, Affiliate Development Based in Fort Lauderdale, received $ 15 million from the city’s community redevelopment agency and its housing and community development department to help fund the project.

“Affiliated Development’s $ 81 million investment in the historic northwestern community of the city represents the largest private investment in the history of this neighborhood and will provide much needed labor housing for residents. of our city, ”said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James. “This project supports the city’s efforts to build stronger neighborhoods and to provide residents with better connections between their home and their work.

What is the average price for a rental apartment in West Palm Beach?

The Great will be inside within walking distance of the city’s newest office complexes, shopping, dining and entertainment venues, as well as Brightline and Tri-Rail stations. It is built by Moss & Associates, based in Fort Lauderdale, and was designed by MSA Architects of Miami.

West Palm Beach has experienced a construction boom, and city authorities have been keen to include housing in this wave of growth.

In January, during his State of the City address, James announced that he was increasing his goal of building 300 affordable housing units in three years to 500 during that period. The target of 300, he said, had almost been met.

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Affordable housing has been a problem for cities across the county. Rents are skyrocketing, as are house prices.

The median price of a home in Palm Beach County is $ 466,000, according to a report by housing economists from Florida International University. Apartments in West Palm Beach rent for an average cost of $ 1,862, according to RENTCafe, an Internet ad service that tracks housing costs.

“The dirty little secret is that the problem never got better, especially for people at the lower end of the income scale,” said Suzanne P. Cabrera, president and CEO of the Palm County Housing Leadership Council. Beach, earlier this year. . “Even though we took everyone’s wages and doubled them today, Palm Beach County is still unaffordable.”

What is the cause of the rising costs of housing in Palm Beach County?

The downtown construction boom, along with an influx of people moving to South Florida from other parts of the country, has fueled rising housing costs throughout the county and in West Palm. Beach.

“Recent job growth has exacerbated the need for housing,” said Nick Rojo, co-founder and president of Affiliated Development. “As a long-time resident, it is particularly important for me to contribute to the realization of such an impactful and transformative project for the city. “

Grand Pool and Yard, a proposed new development in downtown West Palm Beach.

The Palm Beach County government, as well as the governments of various cities, have programs to encourage the construction of affordable housing. The West Palm Beach CRA offered the help of an affiliate in exchange for a commitment that they would offer some of The Grand’s units at below market rents based on the tenant’s income. Affiliated, which says it has over 1,000 workforce housing units in preparation in South Florida, was pleased to make the deal.

“Our goal is to work with our city and ARC partners to create a transformative project that triggers redevelopment activities in the ARC target area and increases the quality of life for city residents,” said Jeff Burns, Co-Founder and CEO of Affiliate Development. “The management and staff of West Palm Beach have been wonderful to work with, and we are thrilled to play a role in the evolution of this city. “

Palm Beach Post editor Wendy Rhodes contributed to this report.

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