Low-income residents of Gainesville may soon be able to live alongside UF students, as a mixed-use development proposal is expected to be built adjacent to campus.
The City Commission will make the final decision this month on the construction of an affordable housing and student apartment building located at 1227 W. University Ave. where Felipe’s Mexican Taqueria once stood. The plans include a 10-story apartment building with 151 housing units, 10% of which will be affordable housing, according to a city press release on Friday.
This follows the city’s goals set out in its master plan, which aims to provide affordable rental housing to residents of Gainesville. The specific rates are not clear as of October 10.
Rent prices for the 15 affordable units will be lower than surrounding apartments like The Standard or The Hub, Commissioner David Arreola said.
Affordable housing will be available to people earning 60% or less of the city’s median income, said Pamela Davis, CEO of the Gainesville Housing Authority. The Gainesville Housing Authority can also recommend people earning 80% or less of the median income to live there, Davis said. The median family income for 2020 in Gainesville was $ 69,800.
Davis said the Gainesville Housing Authority provides housing for low-income families in Gainesville and people can apply for affordable housing through GHA. He will direct those eligible for affordable housing to Lincoln Ventures, the real estate company that owns the property, to ensure low-income families use the units.
“Housing is expensive and it is a basic necessity for families for stability and security,” said Davis. “We want to make sure that all of our families have the opportunity to be successful in our community. “
The apartment will have mixed housing with low-income students and families. The building’s proximity to the UF allows people to walk to classes or jobs on campus, City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos said. It helps people save money on car expenses and save time on long bus trips.
However, there is still a massive need for housing in Gainesville, said Hayes-Santos. He said he hopes the commission will hear an inclusive zoning law later this year to make affordable housing mandatory in new residential developments.
Fred Sowder, a 51-year-old UF alumnus born and raised in Gainesville, said the building could improve interaction between Gainesville residents and UF students.
“Students need to start immersing themselves in other cultures and interacting with the socio-economic backgrounds of other people,” he said.
Sowder said he thought only 10% of housing units available to low-income families was too low.
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“It’s a good start, but I think the city can hopefully either do more projects like this in the future or increase that percentage a bit,” he said. .
Kim Tanzer, a former professor of architecture and licensed architect at UF, said she was still not convinced the apartment would be marketed to low-income families.
“The affordable housing provided by the Gainesville Housing Authority will not be aimed at desperately low-income families, but rather people in their 30s and 40s who want to live close to their workplace at university,” he said. she declared.
She said she didn’t believe a family with children would want to live in this area with hundreds of other students.
“I don’t think a family with kids would benefit from living in a building with 600 students.” she said.
Tanzer also raises the question of whether the Gainesville Housing Authority should be involved with a development company. Typically, developers are allowed to build additional units with the promise that some of them are affordable, so this will actually benefit the developer, she said.
“The fact that the Gainesville Housing Authority contributes money to a developer is something that I think deserves careful consideration,” she said.
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Meghan McGlone is a UF junior majoring in Journalism and English, and this year she is the City and County Commission reporter. In recent years, she has held the positions of university editor, student government reporter and other positions. Her favorite pastime is eating gummy worms and reading a good book.
Jiselle Lee is a second year journalism student and reporter at East Gainesville. This is her second semester at The Alligator and she is excited to continue working at the Metro counter. In her spare time, she enjoys eating in Gainesville.