The 17-acre prime parcel between Ortega Street and Elks Way has long lured developers who planned everything from an upscale commercial project called Navarre Boardwalk to a nationally branded Home Depot. None of that happened.
As recently as July 2015, a Chicago-based company, Argent Development Services proposed a senior housing community comprised of 180 units of independent senior housing, a 60 unit assisted living facility, a 32 unit memory care facility, an Andrews Institute rehabilitation center and commercial and retail storefronts.
Now, instead of utilizing the land for upscale projects, a Tampa company, Southport Financial Services Inc., proposes to build low-income senior housing, Navarre Abbey, and low-income housing, Navarre Orchard, on the plot if it can get county commission approval necessary to participate in a state funding assistance program for such projects.
County Development Director Beckie Cato largely dismissed concerns sometimes associated with low-income housing operated by the government–such as crime, overcrowding and lax maintenance–that can detract from nearby property values. “This isn’t public housing. These will be privately owned by the developer.”
Low-income doesn’t necessarily mean lacking in quality, said Michele Tucker, a SHIP board member and Century 21 Realtor. “The plans are very nice,” said Tucker.
Two-bedroom apartments are listed in the planned rent schedule for t at $720 a month. According to a letter submitted to Santa Rosa County Development Services, the property will offer 54 two-bedroom units and 36 three-bedroom units in a three-story garden style configuration. All of the units will be rented as affordable housing, and will commit to doing so for the next 50 years. Specifically, 90% of the units will be rented to households with incomes at or below 60% of the Area Median Income for Santa Rosa County, with the remaining 10% of the units set aside for households with incomes at or below 40% of that level.
Southport has issued a third low-income housing request to the county to develop Northshore Townhomes, a 90 unit development just a half mile west of Navarre Walmart on the south side of Highway 98.
In addition to the Southport projects, a similar project is planned for Gulf Breeze. On that project, dubbed as Osprey Landing, JPM Development is looking to provide 76 low-income senior apartment units on the north side of Highway 98 just east of Tiger Point Park Road.
Each of the four projects needs a $20,000 contribution to submit an application to the Florida House Finance for their tax credit program. A requested total of $80,000 is on the agenda for Monday’s commissioners’ meeting for discussion and a final vote will take place on Thursday.
Full documentation can be seen here: https://santarosa.fl.gov/agendas/backupdocs/Backup-2549-1.pdf
and here: https://santarosa.fl.gov/agendas/backupdocs/Backup-2552-1.pdf
Editor’s Note: On Oct. 23, the Pensacola News Journal published an editorial on the topic of affordable housing. The link is below: