It's been about 14 months since Miami-based developer Housing Trust Group was awarded tax credits for a proposal to construct a 90-unit apartment complex in east Bradenton, with 77 units being devoted to affordable housing rates.
On Monday, the celebratory shovels scraped the earth at 702 Sixth Ave. E., signaling the transformation of the 3.5 acres of vacant land into one of Bradenton's few success stories in affordable housing.
"We're excited about this," Mayor Wayne Poston said. "We have the demand as everybody all over Florida. We have a lot of people that want housing and we don't have a lot of affordable housing, so we've been working really hard on this."
HTG is one of the nation's largest developers of affordable housing. It has eyed the property for some time, picking up a failed attempt from another developer in an ambitious project to construct a mixed-use project on that site. Where some fail, others succeed and that's the nature of the largely luck-based tax-credit system.
"Bradenton, like many communities throughout Florida, is suffering from a shortage affordable and workforce housing," said Matthew Rieger, president and CEO of HTG prior to Monday's groundbreaking ceremony. "We've been working closely with the mayor and city council to develop a concept and plan that will provide residents with brand new, safe and clean affordable and workforce housing, with amenities and services that will enhance the overall community."
The Addison will range in price from $328 a month to $1,400, depending on income qualifications. It will also add 100 temporary construction jobs to the community and five new permanent jobs.
"If you can tell the difference between this project and a market-rate project then we have failed," Reiger said. "And we don't like to fail."
Ward 5 City Councilman Harold Byrd Jr. said, "It's a win-win for the city of Bradenton."
Amenities will include a fitness center, resort-style pool, dog park, playground, media center and 600 square feet of retail space. Thirteen of the units are designated for market rate renters.
Planning and Community Development Director Catherine Hartley said if there was a location that was perfect for the project, it would be The Addison at that location, "Where there will be some good affordable housing near some of the biggest employers in Manatee County."
Tax credits are a program that sells tax credits to investors to raise the funding necessary on low-profit affordable housing projects. The Addison was funded with a $15.5 million construction loan with $14.7 million of that from Raymond James Tax Credif Funds, as well as a $2 million State Apartment Incentive Loan and a $5.125 million bank loan, which closed May 18 as the final piece of the puzzle to break ground.