Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Housing Proposals Sought for Mayport; It Would Be a Place for People with Incomes Closer to the Area's Average

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Housing Proposals Sought for Mayport; It Would Be a Place for People with Incomes Closer to the Area's Average

Article excerpt

Byline: CAREN BURMEISTER

Jacksonville is soliciting development proposals for a workforce housing complex near Hanna Park for families that are struggling to find affordable homes in the Beaches area.

On Dec. 15, Jacksonville's Housing and Neighborhood Department issued request for proposals for a firm with affordable housing experience to design and build apartments and or townhomes on nine acres along Mayport Road.

Jacksonville Councilwoman Elaine Brown pushed the concept in April as a solution for the loss of affordable homes at the Beaches. Numerous apartment complexes and mobile home parks, from Mayport to Ponte Vedra Beach, have been sold due to soaring property values, redevelopment and condo conversions. As a result, about 800 families have sought housing deposits and other relocation assistance from Beaches-area social services agencies.

The land, which lies about three blocks north of where Florida A1A turns west toward Mayport village, belonged to the Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department, but was never used as a park. Brown asked Jacksonville to surplus the property so it could be used for affordable homes.

Developers are being given creative latitude on the site plan's design and density as long as the proposal involves high-quality affordable housing that's compatible with the surrounding area, maintains as much green space as possible and doesn't exceed seven units per acre.

A big bonus for developers is that the land is being donated for the project. However, preliminary surveys shows about half the nine acres contain wetlands, which will limit the number of units.

Jacksonville's housing department wants the complex to target families with household incomes of 50 to 120 percent of the area median income. The median household income in the Jacksonville metropolitan area is $49,073, according to DemograhicsNow, an online market demographic analysis company. …

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