West Palm Beach City Council members have granted approval for an innovative affordable housing project. The project, spearheaded by the Palm Beach County Housing Authority, involves the construction of 48 units using steel shipping containers. While this development may only make a small dent in the demand for affordable housing, it represents a groundbreaking approach that could set the tone for future projects of its kind.
The housing complex will be situated at the former site of the Palm Beach County Housing Authority’s headquarters, which is located on 45th Street and near the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Demolition of the existing building is expected to commence in December once the authority secures a demolition permit. Tammy McDonald, the chief development officer of the Palm Beach County Housing Authority, describes this project as a pilot program.
Highlighting the significance of this affordable housing initiative, McDonald explains that the development will consist of three apartment buildings with a total of 48 one- and two-bedroom units. These units will be constructed using steel shipping containers, which is a cost-effective and unique construction method. However, McDonald assures that the containers will be thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and modified to include windows and doors.
The West Palm Beach City Council unanimously approved a zoning change for the project’s site. Council members believe that the development will not significantly impact traffic but will instead stimulate growth in the area. With this final hurdle cleared, the affordable housing complex will be officially named The Legacy at 45th Street.
The project aims to address the housing needs of various underserved populations. Ten units will be specifically reserved for individuals with AIDS, while the majority of the remaining units will cater to individuals falling within the economic category that McDonald refers to as the “missing middle.” This category encompasses individuals earning between $45,000 and $72,000 per year, who do not qualify for low-income housing but struggle to afford most rents in the Palm Beach County market. McDonald identifies teachers, service workers, cafeteria workers, public housing workers, county workers, and city workers as examples of individuals who fall into this category.
McDonald also provides insight into the timeline for the project. Interested individuals can begin applying to live in the new complex in July, and those accepted will be able to move in by the following fall. This timeline offers hope for individuals in need of affordable housing in Palm Beach County.
In conclusion, the West Palm Beach City Council’s approval of the innovative affordable housing project represents a significant step forward in addressing the housing needs of underserved populations. The use of steel shipping containers as construction materials sets this project apart and may inspire similar initiatives in the future. The Legacy at 45th Street aims to cater to individuals who fall within the “missing middle” economic category, providing a housing solution for those who do not qualify for low-income housing but struggle to afford the high rents in the Palm Beach County market. With the zoning change approved, the project can progress, and individuals can soon begin applying to secure a spot in this much-needed affordable housing complex.