Miami Affordable Housing Projects Closer To Development

, Daily Business Review

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Rendering of Courtside
Rendering of Courtside

While the agency expected to close on the financing with Wells Fargo by the end of 2013, it recently extended its own deadline on the matter by six months. The CRA cited unspecified "issues that have to be finalized with Miami-Dade County" as prompting the extension.

It's hardly the only stumbling block that the relatively clustered developments have seen in the past.

As recently as October, a deal was being brokered for competing developers to share in the Lyric Place project, for example.

Rieger, the CEO of developer Housing Trust Group, explained his particular project had essentially seen back and forth momentum since 2007 when his company partnered with the Mourning Family Foundation on a development plan.

Staying Power

The developer then proceeded into the highly competitive process of securing so-called gap financing in the form of affordable housing credits from the state. Courtside was hampered twice in its efforts, first by bad luck at the statewide lottery for credits and then by a rules change that made it less likely to succeed in securing that financing mechanism.

"We don't want to be at the mercy of a lottery at the state level to know if building is going to occur, but these deals just don't work if we don't have gap financing," Rieger said.

At that point, Housing Trust and the Mourning foundation approached the CRA, which in 2012 voted to finance Courtside and the other projects through a bond issue.

Although the bond issue hasn't been officially signed off on, Rieger was optimistic it would go through early this year and expected his project would open in mid- to late-2015.

Allen Furst, treasurer and secretary of the Mourning foundation, also was enthusiastic about the prospects for the Courtside project and emphasized the fact that people involved in it stayed with the project through various complications.

"Over the years, there's a lot of money that has been dropped in this and other communities that has been for naught," he said. "There's been incentives, and different groups have come in and out from time to time. That's not the attitude we have. We really want to see this constructed and get to the finish line. We won't be moving too fast until we can see this through."

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