The Real Deal Miami

Affordable housing rentals planned for the Florida Keys

Caya Place sites will have 26 units in Marathon and 16 units in Big Pine Key
By Robert Silk | February 02, 2017 01:30PM

A Caya Place townhome project

Developers plan to break ground on the Caya Place sister affordable rental communities in Marathon and Big Pine Key on Feb. 10.

The move comes after Los Angeles-based Alden Capital Partners, in partnership with Merritt Island’s Tri-Star Affordable Development, closed Dec. 30 on $10 million in federally-backed low income housing tax credit financing for the combined 42-unit project, the developers said.

Work on the project is scheduled for completion in October.

Caya Place’s Site A will be located on 73rd Street in Marathon. It will contain 26 units in a single three-story building. The project’s Site B, to house the other 16 units, will be located at 30663 Overseas Highway in Big Pine Key in a lone two-story building, according to the developers.

Between the sites, Caya Place will consist of six one-bedroom, one-bathroom units; 22 two-bedroom, two-bathroom units and 14 three-bedroom, two-bathroom units.

Per the terms of the tax credit program, five of the 42 units must be rented to households earning no more then 25 percent of the Keys’ median income, while the remaining 37 units must rented to families or individuals making no more than 60 percent of the median income. The current median income in the Keys for a family of four is $72,500, according to the developers.  Two-bedroom units for the 60-percent earners will rent for $913 per month.

The finished units will feature stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, balconies or patios and washers and dryers.

Driven by strict growth laws, expensive land values, a high preponderance of second homeowners and an economy that is largely fueled by low paying hospitality jobs, the Keys have long suffered from a shortage of affordable housing.

An April 2015 Florida State University study that was commissioned by the Monroe County Commission referred to the situation as a “crisis.” In 2013, 51 pecent of Monroe County households were officially cost-burdened, defined as those that pay more than 30 percent of income for housing. Statewide, 43 percent of households were cost-burdened.

In a statement, Tri-Star Affordable principal Martin Flynn touted the developers’ efforts to address that problem.

“We are proud to spearhead the development of Caya Place with Alden Capital Partners as it will provide much needed affordable housing options for families within closer proximity to employment destinations,” he said.

The two companies partnered last year on a 51-unit affordable housing development in Marathon called 73 Ocean Apartments, which opened in October.

Tri-Star has also built affordable housing projects in Key Largo and Key West, according to the company’s website. Alden Capital is the syndication division of Alden Torch Financial. Since the launch of its first fund in 2011, Alden Capital said it has raised more than $1.25 billion in low-income housing tax credit equity.