Swan Landing, an affordable apartment project on Griffin Road that faced delays after being initially approved for federal and city funds two years ago, is on the move again and will add 88 apartments to the mix available for income-qualified families and individuals.
Construction is expected to begin soon for Swan Landing just south of the intersection of Highland Fairways Boulevard, near the Publix at Town and Country Square. It is one of half a dozen affordable housing communities completed in the last few years, under construction, or planned for Lakeland.
The city is awarding $460,000 to Blue Griffin Terrace for Swan Landing, which has a total cost of $25.7 million. Blue Griffin Terrace won out in an application process, which also included developments proposed by Green Mills Group and Twin Lakes III, Ltd.
“The city did commit to that funding in October 2020. I guess, as I understand, there, were some delays in underwriting some of the other financing instruments and that’s why it’s taken us a little bit longer to get to where we are today,” said Michael Smith, city housing programs manager. “So this funding does secure a minimum of three affordable units in in the project that it’s my understanding the entire project will be affordable but our particular funding secures three units.”
Of the $460,000, $250,000 is coming from the city’s general fund, with the other $210,000 being passed through the city from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Home Investment Partnership Program.
The city’s funding requires two units to be reserved for household incomes of 80% annual median income less, and one unit reserved for household incomes of 50% AMI or less, although the entire complex will be devoted to affordable rents.
Smith said the underwriting process for the state typically takes between 12 to 18 months, although in this case it took a little longer between COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues.
The development will have two three-story buildings, including:
- 39 one-bedroom/one-bathroom apartments
- 45 two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartments
- Four three-bedroom/two bathroom apartments
Amenities planned include: mini-blinds, central heat and air conditioning, dishwasher, cabinets, carpet or tile flooring, energy efficient windows, and washer/dryer hookups.
It is among half a dozen affordable housing complexes proposed or under construction at a time when low-income families are having difficulty finding a place to live, adding nearly 600 affordable housing units to the area. City officials said they have secured $127 million in private investment for affordable and workforce housing projects by leveraging $5.4 million in city, state and federal funding and incentives.
Other projects in the works include:
- Twin Lakes III, a Lakeland Housing Authority development off Lake Beulah. Smith said they will be submitting for financial incentives from the city.
- Swan Lake Village, currently under construction by Blue Sky Communities on Griffin Road and is set to open at the end of this year or the beginning of 2023. Swan Landing is the second phase and adjacent to Swan Lake Village.
- Parker Pointe, under construction on Bella Vista Street near TigerTown. Green Mills Group is the developer.
- Olive Street-West Gate Neighborhood, a future project from Blue Sky that will be applying for FHFC tax credits and city incentives. Last week, the city approved changing the zoning to accommodate the project.
- Griffin Lofts, a future project by Green Mills off Griffin Road near Home Depot. Smith said the developer has not asked for any incentives yet, but most likely will.
City Commissioner Sara Roberts McCarley asked about inflation impacting the project or creating delays.
“So this project in particular got awarded right in the middle of everything happening — material prices increase, so they’ve actually received some additional funding through other sources to cover those increases in cost,” Smith said. “I think they did see a few-million-dollar increase in the cost and found some ways to get that additional funding … The timing of it, they were hit really hard with those increasing costs.”
“I’m glad it’s happening because with all those materials, they could have walked away,” Roberts McCarley said.
Smith said construction is set to begin soon on Swan Landing. And he expects to take requests for bids for more projects during the next month.
Kimberly C. Moore is an award-winning reporter and a Lakeland native. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 863-272-9250.
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