MIAMI – Miami Commissioner Ken Russell said a $90 million project in Miami’s West Grove neighborhood is making history with an affordable housing component and a public-private partnership.
Platform 3750 is a mixed-use project in the corner of Douglas Road and U.S. 1., and within walking distance from a Metrorail station. The project’s vision: 191 units — including 78 for low-income tenants — 400 parking spaces, 21,000 square feet of retail space, and 29,500 square feet of office space.
Kobi Karp, an award-winning architect, was entrusted with the design of the Platform 3750 complex. Russell said he appreciates the style because it was inspired by Coconut Grove’s Bahamian history. Black islanders were the first to settle in the Village West.
“This historical-cultural neighborhood needs stuff like this,” Russell said.
The partnership is between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Miami-Dade County, Miami, and the Cornerstone Group, a Hollywood-based developer. The county owns the land at 3750 South Dixie Highway.
HUD committed to a $60.5 million Section 220 loan and $5 million from the low-income housing tax credit program. The county contributed $8 million from the surtax program and $1.4 million from the economic development fund. The city invested $3.5 million in general obligation bond funds and a $1.95 million loan.
“There has not been anything like this ever before,” said Lenny Wolfe, principal in Cornerstone Group, adding there is a plan to move the company’s headquarters to Platform 3750.
Both Wolfe and Russell believe the cost-sharing model is ideal and they both hope the project will help to alleviate Miami residents’ dire need for affordable housing.
“We have a crisis here and people who work and go to school in the city can’t afford to live here and so bringing projects here is transformational,” Russell said.
Florida International University researchers found six out of 10 employed adults are housing cost-burdened. Also, the increasing demand for renter housing results in spiraling price increases.
University of Florida researchers found that nearly 50% of households were cost-burdened in 2018 and the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic has increased housing insecurity.
“They are paying over 30% for housing which means they have less money for everything else — healthcare, food — things that people need for a healthy life,” Wolfe said. “But hopefully, these 78 units will put a little bit of a dent on it.”
The project has been in the works for nearly five years. Current Builders, the construction company behind the project, was able to break ground earlier this month. They hope the units will be move-in ready by the fall of 2022.
Starbucks and Aldi will also be moving into Platform 3750′s retail space. Aldi will be the only discount supermarket in Coconut Grove. Wolfe and Russell also expect the project to generate hundreds of temporary construction jobs and dozens of permanent retail jobs.
“It is a template moving forward,” Russell said. “We could really solve this crisis if we work together.”