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November 1, 2012

Doors of 60-Unit Affordable Housing Complex Open in Miami

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Carrfour Supportive Housing has just opened the doors of Parkview Gardens to low-income residents and veterans in Miami’s struggling Liberty City neighborhood.

The 60-unit apartment community, developed in conjunction with Tacolcy Economic Development Corp. and the Florida Housing Finance Corp. at a cost of $12 million, can accommodate 200 dwellers.

Carrfour is on a mission and Parkview Gardens, located at 1437 N.W. 61st St., is a part of the pursuit.

“Our goal is to provide families the foundation for a fresh start and to make a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals in search of an affordable place to call home,” Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg, president and CEO of Carrfour, told Commercial Property Executive.

In every major metropolitan area across the U.S., the pool of housing for low-income families is sorely limited and the availability of options for those in the lower low-income bracket is even less adequate. Parkview is now playing a small but significant role in Miami-Dade County’s quest to fill the gap. “What’s unique about Carrfour’s communities is that we specifically set the rent rates low–lower than other affordable housing developments–to target extremely low-income individuals and families in desperate need of affordable housing,” Berman-Eisenberg said.

Despite an overwhelming need, securing financing for the development of affordable housing projects can be a challenge. A variety of sources came forward to help Carrfour bring Parkview to fruition. The City of Miami supplied approximately $343,000 in HOME funding, while Miami-Dade County provided several parcels of land for the development and $1.6 million through its Affordable Housing Surtax Program. Commercial lenders came aboard, too. JP Morgan Chase Bank and affordable multi-family housing mortgage firm First Housing served as funding partners and RBC Capital provided equity.

The result is a complex of six three-story buildings encompassing quality residential units, and additional structures featuring a community center and parking. But Parkview is not just an affordable housing community; it is a modern affordable housing community that defies old stereotypes of low-income developments. “We build homes that we ourselves would want to live in–built with top-quality construction, appliances and finishes,” said Berman-Eisenberg.

Residents can avail themselves to a fitness facility, picnic area and, keeping in line with the objective of creating a family-friendly atmosphere, kids can be kids at the complex’s children’s playground.

In the affordable housing arena, the specific plight of military veterans is frequently overlooked, but not by Carrfour. The company has joined forces with PAIRS Foundation, Henderson Behavioral Health and Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida on the formation of the Operation Sacred Trust initiative. Funded through a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the program strives to end homelessness among at-risk veterans and their families living in South Florida. “Through OST we are able to provide housing assistance and supportive services for thousands of struggling veterans in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties returning home from overseas to tough economic times,” Berman-Eisenberg added.

And Carrfour expects Parkview to have an impact even beyond the apartment property’s occupants. “Our hope with Parkview Gardens was to build a large, modern development in a blighted area with the goal of uplifting the neighborhood and sparking the development of similar communities, as well as to create hundreds of much-needed jobs for locals,” she concluded. “Affordable housing developments are just one piece of the puzzle to revitalizing communities in need.”

 

 

 

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