Florida Green: Ability Housing Breaks Ground on Orlando Affordable Property

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Village on Mercy includes 166 units and will be restricted to residents earning 60 percent or less of the area’s median income. Construction is expected to take 18 months.

By Laura Calugar (Multi-Housing News)

Ability Housing, the City of Orlando and Florida Housing Finance Corp. have commenced work on Village on Mercy, a 166-unit affordable housing development in Orlando, Fla.

The project will revitalize a 13-acre blighted parcel. Ebert Norman Brady Architects is the architect and Sauer Inc. is the general contractor.

Located at 1740 Mercy Drive, the four-building property will be close to Lake Lawne and within a 15-minute drive of downtown Orlando. Ability Housing plans to build the community using environmentally friendly materials in order to qualify for Florida Green Building Coalition certification.

Income restrictions of 60 percent or less of the area’s median income will apply, with 50 percent of the units set aside for formerly homeless individuals and families. Amenities will include a community center, playground, fitness trail and recreation space along the lake.
Multiple funding sources

Florida Housing Finance Corp., Bank of America, Enterprise Community Investment Inc. and Corporation for Supportive Housing provided funding for the $27.4 million project. The community is slated for completion in late 2019.

In order to create affordable housing communities in the Washington Shores and Mercy Drive neighborhoods, the City of Orlando purchased several foreclosed Fannie Mae multifamily properties from OCWEN three years ago. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the city paid $2.5 million for the portfolio. Local authorities decided to tear down all of the condemned properties because it was too expensive to rehabilitate them.

In 2014, local authorities pledged to move 300 chronically homeless individuals and veterans into permanent supportive housing through its Housing First strategy. Today, the City of Orlando is working together with Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties on a regional strategy to boost the affordable housing supply in Central Florida.

Image courtesy of City of Orlando