Two companies have submitted proposals to build affordable housing in Charlotte County on 32 acres between Veterans and Hillsborough boulevards.
Called the Bachmann track for a nearby road, this site also includes property commissioners want to reserve for roadwork in case a new interchange opens on I-75 at Raintree Boulevard in North Port. They have issued developers an advisory that they may have to set aside part of the property for this.
The submitting companies are MacFarlane Grand Properties, Inc. of Fort Myers and Palladium Investment Company LLC of New Jersey.
Developer Robert MacFarlane has built many high rise residential buildings in downtown Fort Myers’s waterfront, including Beau Rivage, Riviera, and St. Tropez and his first retirement living community, Campo Felice.
The county issued the request for proposals Nov. 16. It is the third try to find developers for this county-owned site. The first two generated only one proposal from a company that could only offer 68 units of housing — all for low income households. Commissioners rejected the proposal as insufficient in number.
Since the first two attempts, commissioners have adopted a number of developer incentives, including waiver of a number of per unit fees in exchange for affordable housing. The county is trying to encourage other amenities as well including more open space and community gathering places.
Purchasing Division Manager Kim Corbett said the county cannot reveal the details of the two projects until after a professional services committee has met and ranked the proposals. They are scheduled to meet March 2.
Commissioners have set aside development rights for 600 residential units for this site. The county is hoping for as many units as possible to be available only to households earning at or below 80% of the area median income. The median household income for 2019 was $51,499, according to the U.S. Census; however, that includes all family sizes including one. Low income housing projects typically evaluate eligibility based on income and size of household.
Developers are allowed to include market rate apartments but they must agree to keep those as apartments in perpetuity, rather than converting them to resident-owned condominiums. Low income apartments must remain so for 20 years.
Proposals are rated in many categories with the most weight — almost half — given to the number of affordable units. The next highest rated categories are the developers’ professional experience and the feasibility of the project financially. After that, proposals are rated according to how quickly they can be built and how many amenities they provide residents or the aesthetics of the project.