Pulte Group to build affordable housing at Merry Place with West Palm Beach Housing Authority – South Florida Business Journal

Pulte Homes will partner with the West Palm Beach Housing Authority to build an affordable townhome project in the city.

This deal was a result of the county’s affordable housing program for projects in unincorporated areas. Developers of major residential projects must either build affordable housing on their sites, build it elsewhere in the county, or make a financial contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund. In most cases, the developers elect to make the contribution.

Patrick Gonzalez, VP of land development for the Southeast Florida division of Pulte Group (NYSE: PHM), said the partnership with the WPBHA at Merry Place would meet the county’s affordable housing requirements for its Fields at Gulfstream community of 916 homes near Lake Worth.

“We can work with the housing authority to build affordable housing in a place that really needs it in West Palm Beach,” Gonzalez said. “It is close to workplaces and they will have easy access to transportation."

The 36 Merry Place townhomes would be located at 1906 Merry Place, which is just west of U.S. 1 and about seven blocks north of Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard. WPBHA Executive Director Laurel Robinson said the townhomes would average 1,300 square feet, plus a garage, and be priced from $140,000 to $180,000. Buyers could have incomes no greater than 120 percent of the area medium income.

This plan will go before the city’s Plans and Plats Review Committee on April 11.

Pulte Homes would design and build the townhouses while the housing authority, which owns the property, would handle marketing and buyer financial aid, Robinson said.

Gonzalez said the townhomes would be designed with the same quality as many market-rate projects by Pulte.

“They will be getting a fantastic value,” Gonzalez said.

Josh Nichols of Schmidt Nichols is the planner on the project.

The WPBHA acquired the 14.7-acre Merry Place site in 2003 and completed 128 affordable apartments there in 2007, Robinson said. Development stalled in 2008 during the recession but the housing authority installed street lights and other infrastructure to prepare it for development.

The housing authority still owns vacant land within Merry Place that’s zoned for 52 condos. Robinson said there are no immediate plans for that site. However, she noted that the pending rezoning of the nearby Northwood neighborhood could lead to more economic activity in the area.

“We are really excited to finally see things happening over here,” Robinson said. “This area of West Palm Beach is really starting to pop."


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