Alonzo Mourning knew that developing an affordable housing project in Overtown wouldn’t be a slam dunk.
But the Miami Heat legend didn’t think it would take seven years to pull together the financing, permits and political will to get the $22.8 million project started.
“It’s been a long and tedious process, but it’s time well-spent,” Mourning said at a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for Courtside Family Apartments. In 2008, Miami-Dade County gave Mourning a 65-year lease for four acres of county land.
Construction has already started for the project at 1700 NW 4th Ave.
In partnership with the developer Housing Trust Group, Mourning plans to build 84 rental apartments for people who make significantly less than Miami’s area median income. A family of four would have to make less than $40,600 to qualify, according to developers. The building should be ready in 2016.
“I’ve been extremely blessed to get to where I am based on the contributions of others,” said Mourning, a former foster child who became an NBA Hall of Famer and helped found the Overtown Youth Center in 2003. “Now I’m in the position to give back and stimulate change in the community I’ve been a part of for 20 years.”
South Florida is one of the least affordable housing markets in the country. There are two other affordable housing projects under construction in economically depressed Overtown and a third in the pipeline, said Clarence Woods, executive director of the Overtown community redevelopment agency, who also attended the event.
Mourning’s team plans a second and third phase of development at Courtside that will focus on seniors, veterans, former foster care children and other vulnerable populations.