August 29, 2018

Contributed
An artist's depiction of The Quarry, a 208-unit rental complex now under construction on Big Coppitt Key. A groundbreaking celebration is planned Sept. 10.

Contributed An artist's depiction of The Quarry, a 208-unit rental complex now under construction on Big Coppitt Key. A groundbreaking celebration is planned Sept. 10.

LOWER KEYS — Work on a Big Coppitt Key property that will become The Quarry, an affordable-housing complex with 208 apartments, got underway earlier this month.

A ceremonial groundbreaking event has been planned for Sept. 10 at the 15-acre gulfside site at mile marker 9.5

“We are excited to begin developing our first community in the Keys, which will be the largest affordable housing community in the area,” Steve Moore, president of project developer The Vestcor Companies, said in a statement.

The $60 million complex likely will be complete by January 2020, a representative of the Jacksonville company said.

As proposed, the Quarry Apartments would have nine buildings with mostly two- and one-bedroom apartments. Sixteen units would have three bedrooms. Regulated rents have been cited as from under $600 monthly to $2,400, depending on unit size and resident income.

“This is affordable housing the Keys can be proud of,” said Key West attorney Barton Smith, representing the project, told Monroe County Planning Commission members in December. “These are units people can be proud to live in and will keep people in the community.”

Monroe County commissioners and planning board members largely endorsed the project that will have a clubhouse, swimming pool, dog park and outdoor pavilion.

“We had a housing problem” before Hurricane Irma, County Commissioner George Neugent said in December. “Now we have a critical problem that we’re going to have to deal with. … Our economy cannot recover without a workforce.”

Sheriff Rick Ramsay and other public officials publicly echoed the Lower Keys need for workers who earn middle-income salaries.

Residence buildings are designed to be two stories high over parking, with a total of 474 parking spaces.

Several Lower Keys residents voiced concern about the complex adding more traffic onto U.S. 1.

A condition of the development agreement with the county requires a new intersection to keep traffic from The Quarry off nearby neighborhood streets. Work trucks can use existing streets during construction.

The Quarry draws its name from the property’s previous use by the Toppino family’s construction company.

The Vestcor company owns 22 affordable-housing communities in Florida.

Apartments at The Quarry will be income-restricted based on the following requirements:

• 40 percent of the units are reserved for individuals who make less than 60 percent of the Monroe County median income;

• 55 percent of units are for those who make less than 120 percent of the median income; and

• Five percent are for those who make less than 28 percent of the median income.

No information on a schedule for submitting rental applications has been announced.

According to the company, The Quarry financing includes low-income housing tax credits and an apartment inventive loan from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, and a $37.8 million construction loan from BB&T Corp., a bank holding company.

The Quarry was designed by the PQH Group, with Summit Contracting Group signed as contractor.

kwadlow@keysnews.com