The Florida Keys is longing for more affordable housing, and it appears the upper island chain is getting some help from a project near the 18-Mile Stretch in Florida City.

Coral Gables-based Coral Rock Development Group recently unveiled plans to develop 13 acres of property located outside the Florida Keys into 300-plus residential apartments. 

Known as the Card Sound Key Apartments, the workforce and market-rate rental housing project will be developed on vacant land on the westside of U.S. 1 where it merges with Krome Avenue and splits off to Card Sound Road. 

According to Coral Rock Development Group, 342 residential rental units will include one-, two- and three-bedroom options. With six four-story buildings, 20% of the units will be dedicated to workforce housing and 80% will be used as market-rate rentals. Amenities will include a Vita Course circulating the property with several workout stations, a pool, barbecue area, spacious two-story clubhouse, dog park, children’s playground and pickleball court.

Coral Rock Development Group said the site will serve three submarkets in south Miami-Dade, the gated Ocean Reef community and the northern Florida Keys. 

“We’re very pleased to unveil our plans for Card Sound Key Apartments. As the closest apartment development to Ocean Reef Club where there are 1,200 employees commuting daily, coupled with a severe housing shortage in the northern Keys and south Dade, this multifamily project will add much needed high-quality housing to the community,” said Michael Wohl, principal of Coral Rock Development Group. 

Development plans for Card Sound Key Apartments were unanimously approved by the Florida City Commission in early January. 

“This is particularly meaningful since most of the workforce for the Florida Keys travel to Florida City,” said Florida City Mayor Otis T. Wallace.

With a project close to the Keys, Key Largo Chamber of Commerce President Elizabeth Moscynski said a worker’s ride won’t be as tedious as it is coming from Cutler Bay or Miami. 

“It helps Publix, bigger stores and smaller stores,” she said. “A lot of people want to live in the Keys, but it’s hard to afford it. The project will benefit Key Largo, especially with the fact we don’t have much affordable housing here.” 

A groundbreaking is set for early 2024 with completion scheduled for early 2025.

Jim McCarthy is one of the many Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 4-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.