West Palm Beach’s next apartment complex will be made of shipping containers, piled three stories high.
The $9 million project, Arts on Broadway, promises 52 apartments, 27 of them workforce housing, for people near or below the area’s median income. Rents are expected to range from about $900 to $1,400.
At Broadway and 28th Street, the apartments will be a couple of blocks from trendy Northwood Road.
“The project includes artists among its target market and will offer shared studio space.” said developer Craig Vanderlaan, executive director and co-founder of nonprofit Crisis Housing Solutions. “Singles and young families also are potential tenants. We want to help the artist community here in Northwood. We also want to help the workers in that area, if they work in shops or restaurants or local hospitals, or if they’re teachers or in law enforcement. One problem is that folks that live there can’t afford to live there in decent housing. If we can create affordable housing in that community, we can really improve the lives of a lot of people.”
Vanderlaan said his firm got wind of the shipping container concept from family friends in The Netherlands. They’re common there, in Britain and elsewhere. But housing made of insulated, reconfigured containers has been gaining currency in the U.S. in recent years, as well.
“Using metal containers as dwellings in hot South Florida won’t be a problem,” Vanderlaan said. “The concept is employed for U.S. military in Afghanistan, where temperatures soar to 125 degrees. Arts on Broadway is believed to be the first multifamily container project in Palm Beach County.”
The project will include one- and two-bedroom units, ranging from 640 to 960 square feet.
“It’s basically the same size that a standard apartment would be,” Vanderlaan said.
The project is taking advantage of the fact that it is located in a designated Opportunity Zone, which allows investors tax advantages. The city is assisting with financing. On Monday, November 18, the city commission is scheduled to vote on an additional $300,000 in gap financing. The city owned part of the North End site.
“We’ve been wanting to do something with that property,” said Assistant City Administrator Armando Fana, formerly West Palm’s housing director. “That Broadway corridor is a target area for us and there has hardly been any redevelopment in the Broadway Corridor. If all goes well, construction should begin in summer 2020 and would be completed a year later.”
What if someone mistakes your home for a real shipping container and you wake up at sea? Fana, as ever, was upbeat.
“Then you get a free cruise,” Fana said.
Source: Palm Beach Post