Carrfour proposes 80 one-and two-bedroom apartments with rent from $439 to $1,278
Sarasota County staff will negotiate with a Miami nonprofit on a for an affordable housing development on property the county owns at 4644 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, The Sarasota News Leader has learned.
The proposal Carrfour Supportive Housing submitted to the county on Jan. 28 offers $1.5 million for the 6.23-acre parcel. The county paid $1.2 million for the land in January 2015, the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office notes. The 2019 market value of the parcel was $1,334,800, those office’s records add.
Carrfour’s plan calls for a minimum of 80 mixed-income, multifamily apartments, according to the Jan. 28 letter that Stephanie Berman, the nonprofit’s president and CEO, wrote in response to the county’s request for affordable housing project submissions.
The units Carrfour proposes would have monthly rents ranging from $439 to $1,278, Berman added. They would serve households with an income between 33% and 80% of the Annual Median Income (AMI) for Sarasota County.
A U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) document says that 100% of AMI for a Sarasota County household in 2019 was $70,900. Thus, 80% of AMI would be $56,720. The maximum rent for such a household would be $1,418, the HUD document noted.
The Carrfour proposal also said that the nonprofit’s proposal would have the potential to include “market rate or workforce units up to 140% AMI.”
Carrfour estimates that the closing on the North Tamiami Trail property could take place by May 1, 2021, with construction starting the same month. It would take a year to complete the project, the nonprofit says, with full occupancy anticipated by Nov. 1, 2022.
In November 2019, the County Commission authorized staff to issue a request for plans for potential affordable housing developments on the North Tamiami Trail parcel, which the county originally purchased for parkland. The board members also agreed that County Administrator Jonathan Lewis could negotiate for sale of the property for that purpose.
During a Feb. 25 update about other possible affordable housing sites the county owns, Matt Osterhoudt, director of the county’s Planning and Development Services Department, noted that staff received three proposals for the North Tamiami Trail parcel before the Jan. 31 deadline for submissions. After one of the nonprofits withdrew its plans, he said, staff settled on what appeared to be the better of the two remaining proposals.
Carrfour’s website says, “Carrfour Supportive Housing is a nonprofit organization established in 1993 by the Homeless Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Carrfour develops, operates and manages innovative housing communities for individuals and families in need through a unique approach combining affordable housing with comprehensive, on-site supportive services. As the leading not-for-profit provider of supportive housing in Florida, Carrfour has supplied homes for more than 10,000 formerly homeless men, women and children since its founding.”
More details of the proposal
The Carrfour plan calls for a four-story, concrete building with balconies, according to the Project Description accompanying President & CEO Berman’s Jan. 28 letter. The project would encompass New Urbanism features, that document pointed out: “The development concept aims to create a thriving, walkable community,” which would be accomplished through construction of “quality building and streetscapes that are compatible with the adjacent neighborhood. … The streets will be made more pedestrian-friendly with a focus on aesthetics, including wider sidewalks, visible storefronts, landscaping and street furniture.”
Among the amenities in the building would be “a ground floor clubhouse which would feature a clubroom, game room, fitness center, cyber-café and leasing/administration space for full time operations personnel.”
The Jan. 28 letter noted the plan for“[p]rofessional on-site property management.”
The site already is zoned for up to 35 units per acre, the Project Description pointed out, so 118 units would be possible there. Nonetheless, the document explained that Carrfour is proposing 40 one-bedroom/one-bath units and 40 with two bedrooms and two baths.
“However,” the proposal said, “we remain flexible and open to County feedback on the desired unit mix and increasing the total number of dwelling units.”
The apartments, the proposal continued, “will be generous in size, varying between 650 square feet for a one-bedroom [unit] and 1,000 square feet for a two-bedroom [unit].” Each would have Energy Star-rated appliances, pantries, LED lighting, water-saving plumbing fixtures and linen closets, with space as well for a washer and dryer set. Further, “[S]olar panels will be incorporated into the design.”
Berman’s Jan. 28 letter explained of Carrfour, “Our experience working with all populations allows us to offer the County a unique and complete menu of development options, including both traditional affordable/workforce housing and unique supportive housing communities, to more specifically achieve the County’s affordable housing goals.”
Berman further noted, “In addition, our successful track record of winning competitive funding awards from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation will ensure the development is built without delay and while maximizing available funding sources.”
With the Carrfour submission, Berman included copies of letters from Raymond James Tax Credit Funds Inc. and JPMorgan Chase Bank, which offered debt and equity commitments to the Sarasota County project. Moreover, she provided county staff a copy of the nonprofit’s consolidated financial statements and report of independent auditors for 2017 and 2018.
In response to a News Leader question about the timeline for completing the negotiations with Carrfour, county Media Relations Officer Drew Winchester wrote in a March 2 email that none had been determined.
On Feb. 25, Osterhoudt of Planning and Development Services told the county commissioners that staff would come back to them with details after the negotiations were completed, so they could consider how to proceed.