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Leon County Commission approves $1 million for Tallahassee Housing Authority Orange Ave. Redevelopment

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Posted at 7:08 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 19:16:10-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — "It will certainly stimulate economic development in the Southside community for years to come," said Brenda Williams, the Executive Director of the Tallahassee Housing Authority (THA).

Williams is talking about the Orange Avenue Redevelopment project which is set to bring over 400 new affordable housing units in 3 phases when it's complete.

"We just have to continue to address the affordable housing shortage in as many ways as we can," said Williams.

Phase 1 is paid for, but Phase 2 needs a $2 million boost due to inflation, rising interest rates, supply chain issues, and increasing construction costs.

The City of Tallahassee has just given THA $1 million in early November to meet that need.

On Tuesday, Leon County agreed to match that with another $1 million for THA.

Now, the total investment from both the city and county will be over $8 million for Phase 1 & 2.

The total cost of Phase 1 & 2 is over $81 million which THA has covered most of with bank loan, bonds, and tax credits. That's also how they'll fund Phase 3, but Williams said they don't know yet if they'll need more money from the city or county for Phase 3 in the future.

Taking a bigger look at how inflation is affecting local development, Kevin Gehrke with the Office of Economic Vitality says developers coming to Tallahassee are having to tweak their plans because of inflation which is causing some delays.

"They're just taking a minute verifying their financials involved before they move forward with the project," said Gehrke.

Gehrke also noticed the number of residential single family home permit applications have decrease since 2021.

He's hopeful even though costs are rising, organizations like OEV can help offset those investment costs with tax incentives so the local economy can continue to grow.

"You're going to get that back, as inflation goes up you pay higher taxes and the amount of incentives you get back will be proportionally the same, everything goes up," said Gehrke.

As for the Orange Avenue Redevelopment project:

Phase 1 of the project will be complete by Spring 2024 and will add 130 units.

Phase 2 of the project will be complete by Fall 2024 and will add 160 units.

Phase 3 of the project will be complete sometime after 2025 and will bring 110-120 units, with a focus on senior housing.

When the project was first announced, there was concern about residents being displaced and unable to move back in upon the project's completion.

But members of the Tallahassee Housing Authority have reassured residents that rent will stay the same, and will be given priority to moved back in.

To find answers to frequently asked questions about the project, click here.