A.H. Monroe builds 47 affordable apartments in Key West

Housing help

A.H. Monroe builds 47 affordable apartments in Key West - A large building in the middle of the street - House

The new $14 million complex taking shape on Bertha Street has caught the attention of local residents heading to the airport or Smathers Beach.

A.H. Monroe, formerly AIDS Help, is building the new, three-story housing compound in the 1500 block of Bertha Street to replace the 16 units known as Marty’s Place that have long housed AIDS Help clients.

“The original Marty’s Place cottages simply were at the end of their usefulness, and were being held together by the resident termites,” A.H. Monroe executive director Scott Pridgen said. 

He said the original 16 original units were demolished to make way for 47 new, one-bedroom/one-bath apartments for low-income residents needing some level of support services, whether it’s wider doors to accommodate wheelchairs or grab bars in the bathrooms.

Applicants for these units need not be disabled or living with HIV or AIDS, Pridgen said, but they do need to meet the income requirements.

“You need to make less than $42,000 a year,” Pridgen said, adding that A.H. Monroe currently has a wait list of 110 people specifically applying for a unit in the new Marty’s Place. “We have a total of 280 people on our overall housing wait lists. But people still can add their name to the list for Marty’s Place because not everyone will qualify based on income and others will have made other arrangements by the time these units are finished.”

Officials are shooting for an August grand opening and move-in date, Pridgen said, adding that the 16 residents of the original Marty’s Place have been temporarily relocated and will have first choice among the new units.

The new project also will feature a medical exam room and clinic, where residents’ physicians can see them along with a multipurpose room for events.

Rents will range from $425 to $920 depending on income, Pridgen said, acknowledging some neighbors’ concerns about increased traffic and decreased parking in the neighborhood.

“We really try to be good neighbors, and are very aware of the concerns,” he said. “This particular demographic of residents don’t typically own vehicles, but rather scooters and bicycles, so we don’t anticipate parking being too much of an issue, but we will absolutely work with the neighbors to resolve any issues.”

Those wishing to add their name to the waiting list for Marty’s Place can call A.H. Monroe at 305-296-6196.

Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.