In attendance were Omni CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) Chair Ken Russell, who is Chair of the Miami City Commission; Miami-Dade Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson; and Omni CRA Vice-Chair Keon Hardemon, who is also a Miami Commissioner. Also in attendance was developer Avra Jain, who received funding from the Omni CRA, making the “16 Corner” project possible, and CRA partner Mt. Zion CDC.
“This 44-home rehabilitation project in Overtown is key to expanding a healthy mix of affordable housing options for residents at all income levels,” Russell said. “We have to act now and move quickly to ensure that the Omni CRA fulfills its promise of improving the quality of life of residents. By fulfilling this promise, residents from throughout the city of Miami will benefit.”
The 44-unit rental project will include all five buildings at 1540 NW First Court. Jain is taking the interiors of the building down to the studs and providing new plumbing and electrical wiring, and new roofs, kitchens and bathrooms.
Russell said the CRA provided Jain’s company, The Vagabond Group, with a $3.8 million loan for the project, that is forgivable as long as the property remains affordable for 30 years.
The project comes on the heels of Russell’s successful push at the City of Miami to pass inclusionary zoning in the Omni district, requiring properties with higher density zoning to include workforce housing in future projects in exchange for bonuses.
Russell has made affordable housing a priority, setting a goal to invest $100 million in affordable housing from that agency. Russell was also part of the coalition on the Miami Commission that approved and passed by voter referendum a $100 million bond dedicated to affordable housing citywide.
The Omni CRA is in talks with the Miami Dade County Public Schools to potentially bring affordable housing, additional school seats and other public benefits to about 9 acres the school system owns in the Omni district.