Edmonson said when Carlisle informed her of the sale to Atlantic|Pacific, she wanted to transfer the projects to the new developer quickly to avoid delays that could place federal funding at risk — and to ensure the projects did not languish during the investigation.
“If these projects are delayed too much longer, we could lose that money, and then the project would never happen — which has occurred over and over and over in the African-American community,” she said.
She had “no idea” the company was struggling to obtain financing, though she said she asked Carlisle that question.
“That’s something that I posed to them as well — if there were coming problems,” she said. “They said no but they said it could come up.”
Last month, Atlantic|Pacific agreed to purchase Carlisle’s affordable-housing division, with little fanfare. As part of that deal, Atlantic|Pacific would acquire the four projects — the Seventh Avenue Transit Village in Liberty City, the Northside Transit Village in North-Central Dade, Island Living in Overtown and Lincoln Gardens in Brownsville — while Carlisle would retain 25 existing local developments, managing 2,855 rental apartments, according to the county.
In announcing the deal in August, Atlantic|Pacific provided no financial details, including whether and how Carlisle stood to profit from the county-subsidized projects. And when an A|P news release noted that Naylor would head the developer’s new affordable-housing division, it did not mention that he is Carlisle’s current chief operating officer.
“We are excited to welcome a leading affordable housing company to the A|P family,” company COO Randy Weisburd said in the news release, which boasted that the developer employs 650 people and manages 23,000 residential units in Florida, California, Texas and other states.
Edmonson said she knew Naylor and other Carlisle staffers were joining Atlantic|Pacific, but the important thing was that neither of the company’s two principals who are known to be under investigation were part of the new team.
As for the deal’s financial terms, that is not the county’s concern, Edmonson said. She blamed Carlisle competitors and “money-hungry” critics who don’t live in neighborhoods desperate for affordable housing for trying to cast doubt on the transfer.
“It doesn’t matter to me if they sold it for $1 or $25 million — that’s not the county’s business,” she said. “[The transfer] would only appear rushed to those people who are out there who would like to see these projects not happen.”
All together, Miami-Dade government has committed or begun spending nearly $38 million in county funds for the four projects, along with allocating more than $10 million in direct federal subsidies, according to Miami-Dade’s department of public housing and community development.
Only one project, the first phase of the Northside Transit Village, is under construction, which began in June. It is the largest, with 438 units to be built on county land leased to Carlisle by the Metrorail station at 3150 NW 79th St.
The main source of financing is $7.5 million from HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program. In addition, the county has committed $4 million in bonds approved by voters in 2004, plus $2.75 million from a surtax on real-estate transfers. Carlisle also applied for $10.5 million in “non-competitive” tax credits for low-income housing.