Renovations to an Allapattah Section 8 housing development grind to halt

Six months into renovating the property, tenants continue to live in a construction site

Aug.August 14, 2017 12:20 PM

Civic Towers Miami

Delays are mounting on a publicly financed renovation project for a Section 8 housing development in Allapattah due to permit discrepancies and shoddy construction paperwork, according to the Miami Herald.

The 196-unit Civic Towers at 1855 Northwest 15th Avenue sits on a 2.81-acre lot. Nearly all of the 17-story building’s units are Section 8 housing. To qualify, residents must make less than 50 percent of the area median income.

Redwood Housing Partners of Burlingame, California, which bought the Civic Towers in Allapattah for $25 million in February, promised to renovate the development after purchasing the property from Cordova, Tennessee-based Global Ministries Foundation. Six months later tenants remain living in construction-crippled units, with exposed wires, barred windows and rats, according to the Herald.

Rent for a one-bedroom is $864 a month, according to financial website Credio.

Delays were related to misrepresentations by the project’s assigned contractor, Louisiana-based Pete Vicari General Contractor Inc., by underreporting the value and scope of the project, according to the Herald.

Records the newspaper reviewed show that Pete Vicari General Contractor applied for a master permit from Miami’s Building Department, and stated that it was performing close to $10 million in combined renovations to the buildings and paid $136,332.92 in permit fees to the city.

Building officials put a hold on the permit this month out of concern that the stated value of the project was incorrect. Vicari said the job was actually worth $22.4 million and paid an additional $169,599.40 in fees. But the Herald reported Vicari successfully applied for up to $38 million in tax credits from the Florida Housing Finance Corp., which lists the initial value of the construction contracts at $32.6 million in November credit underwriting reports.

Redwood Housing Partners, led by Ryan Fuson, responded in an email to the Herald saying: “At this time we do not believe it is appropriate for us to discuss the topics you mention below as we understand there is an ongoing dispute between the general contractor and a subcontractor.”

This is the latest string in the county’s legal troubles involving affordable housing and workforce housing. South Florida’s biggest developer Related Group‘s affordable housing arm, Related Urban, is being investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as part of an expanding probe into South Florida’s affordable housing industry. [The Miami Herald] Amanda Rabines 

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