MIAMI-When the $100-million Brownsville Transit Village, developed by the Carlisle Development Group of Miami, breaks ground next Wednesday, it will be one of the larger affordable housing developments built in Miami. In the midst of the home foreclosure crisis and credit tightening, stable affordable housing remains in high demand, says Jeanne Becker, a spokesman for the Carlisle Group, who is the largest affordable housing developer in Miami-Dade County and Florida. The development will be partially funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.  

The Brownsville Transit Village is a five-phase urban-infill, mixed-income affordable housing development located next to a Miami–Dade Metro-Rail Transit station.The fact that it is transit-oriented, is only one of its green features. It will also feature high-efficiency lighting in units and common areas and tankless water heaters. The development will be built to conform to basic LEED standards.

The 467-unit development is expected to generate 1900 jobs in the local community, including construction and teaching jobs. The teachers will be in charge of onsite classes, which will offer literacy training and health and nutrition information, among other topics.

The first two phases of the Brownsville Transit Village will take 12 to 16 months to build. The first four phases will be partially funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, but funding for phase five is yet to be determined.

Among the funding sources for the first four phases of the development will be nearly $79 million in tax credit equity and nearly $18 million from the Florida Housing Finance Corp., which funds affordable housing.

It is difficult to get financing today for affordable housing, says Becker. This is why Carlisle sought out funding from the federal stimulus package, otherwise known as the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. In the past, banks would more frequently go to the states to buy tax credits because they wanted to offset profits, she says, but today, with the economy ailing, they don’t need credits as much as they used to.

Although the Florida Housing Finance Corp. does not have as much funding for affordable housing as in the past, says Becker, it is more likely to award that funding to a sophisticated developer with a track record rather than to a novice, she says. That is when it helps to be the largest affordable housing developer in the state.