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MIAMI GARDENS

Related Urban Development Group will build 24 apartments for the elderly under an amended contract with Miami Gardens

 

ngreen@MiamiHerald.com

A development team that did not deliver on its promise to build 189 affordable apartments for the elderly in Miami Gardens is being given a second chance. This time around, the number of proposed housing units has been dramatically slashed.

Instead of the original 189 units, Related Urban Development Group will build 24 apartments for the elderly under an amended contract with the city.

When Miami Gardens awarded Related Urban Development Group $1.15 million to purchase the 6.8-acre property on Northwest 207th Street and 27th Avenue in December 2011, RUDG agreed to build 189 apartments for the elderly.

The money awarded to RUDG came from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a federal program aimed at revitalizing areas hardest-hit by the housing-market collapse and foreclosures.

City Manager Danny Crew said Miami Gardens focused on elderly housing because the city needs improved and affordable units for its aging population.

“We certainly have lot of senior citizens that we know are in substandard units right now,” he said.

But RUDG could not come up with the financing to build the three four-story-buildings. RUDG did not respond to requests for comment.

In December 2012, frustrated over the developers’ incremental pace, the city sought to foreclose on the property and recoup its cash.

“They just weren’t moving fast enough. HUD requires us to spend this money in a certain time frame,” Crew said.

In an effort to avoid litigation and having to pay back the $1.15 million to the city, RUDG countered with a largely scaled-back version of the original project. Miami Gardens’ city council recently approved the amended plan.

This time, RUDG says it will build a two-story building with 24 affordable-housing units for the elderly. A separate two-story building will offer 24 units for low- to moderate-income families.

The project will also include 36,000 square feet of retail and commercial space and is expected to create 25 permanent full-time jobs.

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