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PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL-Two Palm Beach County residential projects have each received a $5-million loan under a pilot program aimed at encouraging the development of work force housing. The projects are the 114-unit Merry Place project at 2021 Spruce Ave. in West Palm Beach and the 32-unit Midtown Delray project at 4600 Linton Blvd. in Delray Beach.

The $50-million Community Workforce Housing Innovation Pilot Program was the idea of the late state Rep. Mike Davis, a Naples Republican. The loans are administered by the Florida Housing Financing Corp., a quasi-government group formed by the state legislature 20 years ago to promote housing. The loans can be forgiven if the housing remains geared towards work force housing.

The $24.3-million Merry Place is being developed by a public-private partnership between the West Palm Beach Housing Authority and Banc of America Community Development Corp. It is located on a 14.67-acre infill site two blocks from the Intracoastal Waterway. Prices for the units range from $119,000 to $187,000. The project includes 46 townhomes, with two-bedroom, two-bathroom units averaging 1,350 sf and three-bedroom, two-bathroom units averaging 1,480 sf. There will be 52 condominiums with units ranging in size from 794 sf to 1,327 sf, 12 single-family homes and 16 single-family homes with accessory dwelling units. Construction on the project started in March with completion anticipated in June 2008.

Midtown Delray is part of a larger project being undertaken by Ascot Development that will include 124 residential units and a 20,000-sf medical office building. Midtown Delray will include 10 two-bedroom, 1.5-bedroom townhome units; 10 three-bedroom, two-bathroom units and 12 three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom units.

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