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New affordable housing proposal for All Saints

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jul 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-10 18:18:27-04

Data from the Florida Apartment Association shows a gap of more than 1,500 housing units in Leon County. A new proposed project for the empty lot on Seaboard Street and South Martin Luther King Blvd could soon be one of the affordable solutions in filling that need.

Estimates suggest that by 2030, there will be a 21,000 housing unit gap for households earning below $35,000 annually in Florida. A new affordable housing development called The Station at Seaboard is designed to help.

The $5.1 million project will have 23, three and four bedroom apartments for families who make low-to-moderate income; which is below $43,000 a year.

Talethia O Edwards is a community leader in this part of town. She said many families in the area are working two to three jobs to cover housing costs. She said new projects make her feel, "Super excited. Whenever we hear that there's some affordable housing coming online because we do know the need," said Edwards. "We have tons of families right now who are facing this affordable housing crisis issue and are unhoused."

The Boulos Corporation is the company behind the development. Right now, they're seeking community feedback from people like Edwards at the Greater Frenchtown, Southside Citizen's Advisory Committee Meeting.

Despite the positive idea, Edwards said she has some concerns.

"Can working class families who are not making a whole lot of money afford these 'affordable housing' that is coming online?"

That's a question Hadi Boulos is working to address. He is President of Boulos.
I asked how him how much rent would be in the new complex they're calling affordable. His response?

"Private corporations and government institutions work together hand in hand to ensure that affordable housing is available for citizens in order to retain their talent," said Boulos.

So, no hard numbers just yet. The Station at Seaboard isn't the only new housing option in the works for this part of town.

A seven-story, 41 unit complex with space for commercial businesses is proposed for All Saints. In addition, 60 units for mixed housing are undergoing permitting.
Boulos said he is excited to be a part of the new developments and give people more options.

"I've been to Gaines Street when it was all industrial so I've seen the transformation of what CRA has done and what the government folks have done to the city of Tallahassee and I'm extremely proud and available to help in anyway we can," said Boulos.

Meanwhile, Edwards said she hopes any new housing developments will consider things like area median income when making those decisions so families can actually find a place to live.

"What is the market rate that affordable should be for communities like the Southside and Frenchtown? What does that need to be for families? $1300 or $2700 is out of range for families who are working two or three jobs," said Edwards.

Boulos said after they get feedback, funding and start construction, the Station at Seaboard will be built on this corner in the 18 months.

You can give that feedback at the Greater Frenchtown, Southside Citizen's Advisory Committee Meeting, which is set to take place Tuesday night at the Smith Williams Service Center.