When some tenants are given their keys to The Quarry Apartments on Big Coppitt Key a year from now, their new homes will be the result of a partnership aiming to fill the void that is Monroe County’s affordable housing stock.
The 208-unit rental complex at the intersection of Avenue F and Barcelona Drive has been in the works since 2015, when the Toppino family sought to break ground on the family-owned, 14-acre property it has owned since the early ’80s.
The Naval Air Station Key West opposed the project from the start because of increased density in an area affected by noise from the military’s flight operations, and a lawsuit followed in 2015.
“We prevailed, they appealed, and we prevailed again in early 2016,” said Bart Smith, attorney for the Toppinos.
There were also some project delays because of Hurricane Irma. Finally, construction of the complex is underway.
State and local officials, along with the Toppinos and affordable housing developer Vestcor, gathered on site Monday for a groundbreaking ceremony.
“We’ve developed over 14,000 apartments and there is not one community we are more excited about, or that has a better view, than The Quarry,” said Vestcor Chairman John Rood, adding the 208 units will help address the shortage of workforce housing and “would not have been possible if it weren’t for the tremendous effort of those at the state and county level.”
Rood said the complex will be complete in 2020, with the first units available about a year from now.
It was made possible with $18 million in equity generated by low-income tax credits from Florida Housing Finance Corp., $13 million by SAIL (State Apartment Incentive Loan) funds from the state, and $30 million in loans from BB&T, Suntrust and FNMA, according to Vestcor Marketing Manager Holly Hepler.
The project comprises one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 750 to 1,200 square feet, designated for those with very low, low and moderate annual median incomes (AMI).
Ninety-six of the units will be for very low and low annual median incomes ($30,900 to $49,400 for a single person), while 112 will be for the moderate category of AMI ($61,800 for a single person).
“How appropriate that we’re here one year after Hurricane Irma,” said U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo. “We had an affordable housing crisis before Irma that was made that much worse, and here we are celebrating a new day, a new beginning and new opportunities for the people of the Florida Keys.”