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Town Center to fill gaps for Opa-lockas seniors

caines | 11/8/2012, 5 a.m.

Low-income housing project now underway

Just as they are becoming adjusted to diminishing financial resources, many seniors find themselves struggling to find safe and affordable housing. Not everyone has family members with whom they can live. And retirement communities, often requiring big entry fees plus monthly fees, can cost more than what many fixed-income seniors can afford. To address the demand for more housing for these seniors, the City of Opa-locka has launched a new low-income senior rental housing project called the Town Center Apartments. Theres a real need for low-income elderly housing in Opa-locka, said Alberto Milo, affordable housing developer at Related Urban Development Group. We believe that Town Center Apartments will serve as redevelopment catalyst for the City of Opa-lockas Downtown District. Elected officials approved the development project in September and recently indicated that changes to the Citys comprehensive plan were under review with Floridas Department of Economic Opportunity. The 192-unit complex will be within walking distance to the citys Tri-Rail station, Metro bus and city transit services. The complex is slated on a vacant lot and city-owned parcel at the corner of Fisherman Street and Sharazad Boulevard.

Development to unfold in two stages

The proposed development consists of two phases. A shovel ready phase one, according to the developer, consists of 122 one-bedroom units, renting at $537 monthly and five two-bedroom apartments, costing $639 a month. Phase two of the project, which still needs funding, includes 4,890 sq. ft. of retail space on the lower levels and 65 apartment units on upper floors. Both complexes will have energy efficient appliances and fixtures, insulated hurricane impact windows, and state-of-the art amenities such as a multi-purpose room, laundry facility, computer and library rooms. Funding for the $19 million dollar phase-one project includes: $7.739M already awarded from Miami-Dade County Neighborhood Stabilization Program a state tax credit and bond financing. Once ground breaks, the development is expected to bring in over $617,975 revenue to the City of Opa-locka in 2013. The citys making progress on bringing needed development to the community, said City Manager Kelvin L. Baker. Were looking at all our options. Miami Times staff report