Michaels Development Breaks Ground on First Public Housing Project in Newtown Redevelopment Program

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorSarasota, Fla.–The Michaels Development Co. recently broke ground on Phase I of Janie Poe, the first public housing development to be revitalized as part of the Newtown Redevelopment Program (NRP). Senior vice president of development Milton Pratt, Jr., Sarasota Mayor Lou Ann Palmer, and others local dignitaries kicked off the demolition and construction of the first 86 units of the proposed 247-unit mixed-use, mixed-income site.“Michaels is elated,” says Pratt. “Our team has been working overtime to keep this development on track with city and county officials providing stellar support every step of the way. It is no longer just a matter of time before residents see their new homes come to fruition. Construction is happening now. The Newtown Redevelopment Program was awarded to Michaels in 2006. Since then, the company has secured $1.15 million in 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), generating approximately $11 million in equity. An additional $325,000 in Affordable Housing Program funds was received from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago. As a result the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County have embraced the development of Newtown’s affordable housing initiative, committing a total of $16.9 million over the next seven years for the entire project.Phase I will benefit from $1.86 million of city and county funding. In addition to strong public support, the local Newtown Front Porch Council, the Newtown Public Housing Tax Force and the Janie Poe and Orange/Courts/Bertha Mitchell Resident councils have also actively participated in the development process, including assisting with the relocation of Phase I residents within a three-month period.Janie Poe is the first of four sites to be constructed as part of NRP, which includes Bertha Mitchell, Orange Avenue and the Courts. When completed, NRP will boast more than 800 units of public, market-rate and affordable housing, including an elderly facility, a homeownership component and retail space.