Florida Keys News
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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Affordable housing takes shape

A new construction project on Stock Island near the Burger King has been getting attention in recent weeks, ever since crews broke ground on what will become 48 rental units of affordable housing called Banyan Grove Residences.

The Spottswood family owns the property at 5455 MacDonald Ave. It was Pearl Trailer Park about 30 years ago, with 91 trailer units on the site, developer Bill Spottswood said Tuesday.

"We've owned it for awhile," he said.

At one point, Spottswood said he had received approval to build 51 market-rate units on the site, but then the real estate market fell out. Next it was permitted to become an Eckerd drug store, but that was put on the back burner when Eckerd was bought out by CVS.

"So a couple of years ago, we applied to the state for the affordable housing permits, and are building it as a tax credit project," Spottswood said, comparing it to the nearby Flagler Village apartment complex.

Banyan Grove Residences will include 12 two-story buildings with a combination of two- and three-bedroom rental apartments that meet the county, state and federal affordable housing guidelines, he said. He is unsure what the rental prices will be and whether they'll be categorized as low- or median-income units.

"It's going to be nicely landscaped, and is something that's still desperately needed in this community," Spottswood said.

Crews broke ground on the site Jan. 7, and the Orlando-based contractor, Roger B. Kennedy, said in a prepared statement that he hopes to finish the $9.6 million project in June. Spottswood took a more conservative approach and said the units likely will be ready for occupancy by August.

mmiles@keysnews.com

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