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West Side Gazette - June 02, 2016

Grand opening of
Island Living Apartments

Overtown’s first newly constructed affordable housing development

by: Carma Henry

MIAMI, FL – The Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency (SEOPW CRA) along with developer Atlantic Pacific and co-developer Palmetto Homes, local officials including Commissioner of Miami Dade Audrey M. Edmonson, City of Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon, Wifredo Gort, and Francis Suarez, celebrated the grand opening of Island Living Apartments (ILA), a 70-unit, mixed-use, affordable housing development located in the heart of Overtown. The grand opening was held on May 23, 2016, ILA, 1201 N.W. Third Ave., Miami, Fla.

The ceremony began with a ribbon cutting, followed by a performance from an authentic Bahamian Junkanoo band that escorted guests to the third floor terrace where the celebration continued.

ILA is an 11-story rental building, featuring one, two, and three bedroom units, offering high-quality, affordable housing for local residents. The property’s ground floor space will house appealing retail serving both the building’s residents and the overall community. This fully occupied transit-oriented development includes 5,000 square feet of commercial space, pedestrian friendly streetscapes, a friendly play-ground area, a modern community room, exercise room, computer lab and a parking garage.

ILA will also serve as the headquarters for Teens Exercising Extraordinary Success (T.E.E.S.), a local non-profit started to provide youth with a secure, positive family environment where they can learn skills to lead a productive lifestyle free of negative influences. T.E.E.S. will host quarterly "teen talks" for the youth of Overtown.

The ILA was developed by Atlantic Pacific Communities and Palmetto Homes of Miami Inc. The total cost of construction was $23,225,066 of which the CRA contributed nine million dollars towards the project.

The development also received funds from Wells Fargo, the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County.

ILA has been making a meaningful impact on the Overtown community since the onset of the building’s groundbreaking. Ario Lundy, CEO of Palmetto Homes and a partner on the ILA project, launched a campaign to hire young Overtown residents from Miami-Dade County’s Boot Camp pro-gram to aid in the construction of the building. Boot Camp is a great program that offers young men and women convicted of a crime an alternative to incarceration. It allows them to learn a new trade and earn some in-come as a form of rehabilitation.

ILA is part of the overall re-vitalization of the Overtown neighborhood and is the first project to be completed of four new affordable housing developments underway in Overtown that the SEOPW CRA has contributed to financially. Once all of the developments are complete, a total of 402 new afford-able housing units will be located in Historic Overtown. "The Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency is proud to be a part of the development of this beautiful building," said Clarence E. Woods III., SEOPW CRA executive director, "Like most communities across the nation, there is a great need for more affordable housing. This project is a perfect example of our efforts, in partnership with Atlantic Pacific Communities and Palmetto Homes to expand housing opportunities and provide a better quality of life for our residents."

The other developments include:

The Plaza at the Lyric, located at 919 N.W. Second Ave., a mixed-use development consisting of 158 affordable housing units and 8,000 square feet of commercial space. Complete with amenities such as a large multi-purpose room, computer lab with a library, a state of the art fitness center, laundry facilities, playground and parking garage. The total cost of construction is $25.9 million of which the CRA contributed $17 million.

Courtside Apartments, located on the Southwest corner of Northwest 17th Street and Northwest Fourth Avenue (adjacent to the Culmer Center), is currently under construction and should be complete in June of 2016. The development consists of 84 affordable housing units with one, two and three bedroom apartments. The Housing Trust Group and former retired Miami Heat player Alonzo Mourning are developing the property. The total cost of construction is $12.7 million of which the CRA has contributed $7.5 million.

St. Johns Overtown Plaza Apartments is a new construction project to be built at 1327 N.W. Third Ave. and scheduled to break ground in 2016. The planned project will consist of 90 affordable housing units and 8,000 square feet of commercial space, which will include a daycare center. St. John Plaza Apartments, LLC, is developing the property. As part of their development agreement St. John Plaza Apartments, LLC, has agreed to responsible wage requirements for electrical workers, plumbers and laborers as defined in Section 2-11.16 of the County Code. The CRA is contributing $10,000,000.

To learn more about the Southeast/Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment Agency ("CRA") and its initiatives, visit or call (305) 679-6800.