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Hundreds of Affordable Apartments, Townhomes, Coming to Downtown West Palm Beach

Posted by on Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 at 3:56pm.

Coming Soon to Downtown West Palm Beach!

WEST PALM BEACH — Construction has begun on The Grand, an eight-story building in West Palm Beach's Northwest neighborhood that will offer hundreds of below-market rental units at a time when high-priced, luxury condominiums and homes are sprouting up all across Palm Beach County.

The $81 million building, located between Second and Third streets along Rosemary Avenue, is expected to be completed in spring 2023. It will have 301 apartments and eight townhomes, with commercial space on the ground floor.

Two-thirds of the rental units — 206 in total — will be offered at below-market rents through the city's workforce housing program, which aims to provide affordable housing for middle-income workers who can't afford Palm Beach County's soaring rental costs.

The developer, Fort Lauderdale-based Affiliated Development, received $15 million from the city's Community Redevelopment Agency and its Housing and Community Development Department to help finance the project.

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

How much does the average rental apartment cost in West Palm Beach?

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

West Palm Beach has experienced a boom in construction, and city officials have been eager to include housing as part of that wave of growth.

In January, during his State of the City address, James announced that he was raising his goal of having 300 affordable housing units built within three years to having 500 built during that time period. The goal of 300, he said, had nearly been reached.

Affordable housing has been a problem for cities throughout the county. Rents are soaring, as are home prices.

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

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

What is causing the rise in housing costs in Palm Beach County?

The downtown construction boom, as well as an influx of people moving to South Florida from other parts of the country, has fueled the rise in housing costs across the county and in West Palm Beach.

“Recent job growth has exacerbated the housing need,” said Nick Rojo, co-founder and president of Affiliated Development. “As a longtime resident, it’s especially meaningful for me to help deliver such an impactful and transformative project to the city.”

Palm Beach County's government, as well as the governments of various cities, have programs aimed at encouraging the construction of affordable housing. West Palm Beach's CRA offered Affiliated assistance in exchange for a commitment that it would offer some of The Grand's units at rents below market rate based on a renter's income. Affiliated, which says it has more than 1,000 workforce housing units in the pipeline in South Florida, was happy to strike that deal.

“Our goal is to work with our city and CRA partners to create a transformative project that ignites redevelopment activities within the CRA target area and increases the quality of life for the city’s residents,” said Jeff Burns, co-founder and chief executive officer of Affiliated Development. “West Palm Beach’s leadership and staff have been amazing to work with, and we are excited to play a role in this city’s evolution.”

Article By: Wayne Washington of The Palm Beach Post & Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Wendy Rhodes contributed to this report.

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