Fort Lauderdale could award $2 million in incentives to affordable housing developer

The church would sell a piece of their land to be developed into apartments.

Fort Lauderdale could award $2 million in incentives to affordable housing developer

A developer is seeking a forgivable incentive loan to build affordable housing in the Northwest-Progresso-Flagler Heights neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale.

On May 2, the city's Community Redevelopment Agency will review a $2 million Development Incentive Programme (DIP) loan forgivable to New Hope Development Corp. The borrower is a joint venture of Weston's Land America Development Corp. led by Chief Operation Officer Vincent Prince and the nonprofit NHB Sistrunk CDC. The nonprofit is a part of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

In 2020, the company paid $550,000 for a 12,115-square foot site located at 1316 Sistrunk Boulevard/N.W. Sixth St. is a parking area across from the church. There has been a boom in development in the Flagler Village area further east along Sistrunk Boulevard. However, the historically Black community on the west side of Sistrunk has not seen nearly as much construction.

Prince explained that this opportunity arose after Land America contacted a group in Florida of ministers and informed them about the possibility to build affordable housing on land owned by churches. Prince wants to assist urban residents being priced out by the new construction of expensive housing.

Prince stated that 'our goal is to maintain that western corridor in Sistrunk and that community'. Prince said that the displacement of people in Sistrunk is bad for the community and that we need to change this trend.

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Ricky Scott, noted that his church, founded in 1926, is facing a shortage of members and financial resources. This was exacerbated by the Covid-19 Pandemic, as many members stopped attending. He stated that the church would be financially benefited from this affordable housing program.

Scott stated that it was happening all over the country. Churches have lots of land, and many have dilapidated structures.

The New Hope Apartments will have 30 units spread over four floors. Each apartment would be 900 square foot and have two bedrooms, two bathrooms. The apartments would have a recreation area.

The developer will rent out the apartments for up to 80% the median income of the area over a five-year period. Rents would be estimated between $1,500 and $1,700.

The median household income for Fort Lauderdale is $66,994.

The developer estimated that the project would cost $6.43m, so the CRA DIP award will cover 31%. Prince has said that he won't be seeking low-income housing credits for this project. However, he is working on a possible loan.

New Hope Development Corp. works with general contractor Lou Campanile Jr. and architect Jason Shlonsky on the project.

Land America also plans to construct a 100-space garage adjacent to the church, directly north of this location. Prince said this would provide parking for apartment residents, restaurants, and the nearby YMCA. This plan, however, is not included in the DIP loan request.

Prince stated that 'our mission is to provide great housing options to underserved community'. Our focus is on creating a great environment at a reasonable price.