Florida Keys

Florida Keys’ Habitat breaks ground on ‘largest’ project

Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys released an artist’s rendering of the 16-unit Habitat at Windley Point subdivision, which is expected to be complete within the next two years.
Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys released an artist’s rendering of the 16-unit Habitat at Windley Point subdivision, which is expected to be complete within the next two years.

The Florida Keys chapter of Habitat for Humanity is breaking ground this week on what it is calling “the largest project in our affiliate’s history.”

The 16-unit Habitat at Windley Point is scheduled to open within the next two years, said Jack Niedbalski, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys.

“This is going to be by far the most affordable option in town,” Niedbalski said Wednesday.

The entire subdivision will be two-bedroom, 2 1/2-bathroom, two-story elevated townhouses, with two-vehicle parking spaces underneath.

The neighborhood site is on 1.6 acres of land on the ocean side of U.S. 1 on Windley Key in Islamorada at mile marker 84.7, just north of Theater of the Sea.

It will be a split of eight rental units and eight units for sale, Niedbalski said.

To qualify to buy a home there, a family must have a minimum combined income of $50,000. Each unit is estimated to cost around $250,000, and qualified buyers must be able to come up with a $2,000 down payment at closing to be eligible for a 30-year interest-free loan, Niedbalski said.

Those buying any Habitat for Humanity home must also commit to investing “sweat equity” into the community. This means either helping in the construction of the neighborhood, or any other Habitat neighborhood in the Keys, or volunteering at any Habitat for Humanity store.

Rent is expected to be in the $1,300- to $1,400-range, Niedbalski said.

“If you have at least two people renting, it definitely will be affordable,” he said. “A single mom school teacher, she should definitely be able to afford it.”

The Village of Islamorada owns the land, which is deed-restricted for affordable housing, and Habitat holds the lease. The village and Habitat are in the process of negotiating the details of the ground lease, said Village Manager Seth Lawless.

“It’s being finalized,” Lawless said.. “We don’t have details yet.”

The five-member Village Council is scheduled to vote on the lease at its regular meeting Thursday.

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