Through a unique public-private partnership, a West Palm Beach neighborhood undergoing revitalization will be getting much needed affordable housing. PulteGroup’s South Florida division is working with the West Palm Beach Housing Authority to build 36 units of affordable housing in the Pleasant City neighborhood. The homes are part of an agreement with the County for Pulte’s development of an almost 1,000-home project in Lake Worth, FL. The Merryplace community of 36 townhomes and single-family homes will be offered to qualified local residents at below market prices.
Local governments across the country have similar demands for builders and developers as a way to increase the number of affordable housing units. The requirements are particularly common in areas that are experiencing rapid growth. As developable land becomes scarcer, prices rise. Cost increases are passed on to consumers through higher rents and house prices making it tough for moderate-income families such as teachers, first responders, service providers, and city and county employees.
In the case of Palm Beach County, which has one of the largest income inequality gaps in the country, the need for workforce housing is especially acute. Depending on the development, homebuilders have the choice of paying a ‘buy-out’ fee to the county – most builders go this route – or building the homes.
In a first for the county, PulteGroup is building where the greatest need exists – in an underserved area with historically low homeownership rates, on land owned by the local Housing Authority. Once built, the authority will handle all sales and marketing for the homes, an arrangement that provides additional financial benefits.
David Kanarek, land project manager for PulteGroup’s South Florida division, says the partnership is a win-win for all involved. “There is a real need for more affordable housing in this area of West Palm Beach. To develop a plan that lets Pulte bring needed homes to this neighborhood, while also developing our project in Lake Worth, is a great example of how builders and local governments can work cooperatively.”