Allapattah residents, community leaders urge city officials to build affordable housing on public land

A federal housing official called Miami the epicenter of the nation’s housing crisis.

MIAMI – A federal housing official called Miami the epicenter of the nation’s housing crisis.

Now residents of one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods are pleading with city officials to bring affordable housing to public land so they don’t get priced out of paradise.

Community groups and faith leaders met in Allapattah on Thursday morning to share their vision for 18 acres of public land known as the GSA Lot.

“The community is not against development, it’s looking for community oriented development,” said Ely Delcorto, Director of Community Engagement for the Allapattah Collaborative CDC.

“To speak up for those who might not be able to attend a commission meeting at 9 a.m. in the morning because they are working,” added Rev. Sherlain Stevens with Ebenezer United Methodist.

Leaders say they have been informed by speaking with residents and business owners.

A related report that was funded, in part, by the mayor’s office found the majority of those interviewed want to see a community center, green space and affordable housing.

“Community is requesting that only 20 percent of all the units developed on this very large site be affordable to people living here today,” said Miami Homes For All Executive Director Annie Lord.

Community groups point to an unsolicited proposal for the GSA Lot by N.R. Investments that was made over the summer. They believe the proposal is at friction with what residents stated is needed on the public land.

View the full proposal below:

“Already we saw a disconnect between what developers were considering and what the conversation had been for well over a year,” said Lord.

Questions directed to N.R. Investments about their unsolicited proposal for 18-acres of public land at the city’s GSA Lot located at Northwest 20th street were unanswered.

This all comes at a time when researchers say Miami faces a deep crisis of housing unaffordability.

They say if the city plans to ask developers to pitch proposals for the city-owned parcel that they ensure the voices of area residents are reflected in parameters and baseline criteria issued to developers.

“Score very highly any proposal that incudes deeply affordable housing,” said Lord.

“How much does in your view the fact that this is publicly-owned, city-owned land ground this call to action to ensure that the public voice of what they want to see happen on this land is heard?” asked Local 10 News’ Christina Vazquez.

“That is the root of it all,” Lord replied. “They are paying taxes. This land belongs to all of us.”

The City of Miami sent Local 10 News a statement regarding the land, which read:

“Pursuant to the City’s Procurement Code, as the Request For Proposals (”RFP”) for the Development and Lease of the City’s GSA Site at Northwest 20th Street has been advertised in various publications, this RFP is currently under the Cone of Silence. The RFP is tentatively scheduled to be released on Monday, September 12, 2022. Upon its release, more information will be provided in writing.”


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About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."