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AIDS Healthcare Foundation Says It Will Modify Design For Low-Income Housing In Fort Lauderdale

Families, friends, and colleagues showed support for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's proposed 15-story tower of micro apartments. Rents would be under $500 per month.
Caitie Switalski
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) told WLRN Monday that it is rethinking plans for a controversial low-income apartment complex being planned near the city's Downtown.

AHF received widespread criticism from neighbors and city officials about the size of the units and the development's location and density. 

"Overall, we've heard the concerns of the community and of the commission," Southern Bureau Chief for AHF Michael Kahane told WLRN. "We will do what it takes to make this a reality for the folks that so desperately need it."

AHF had planned to construct 680 micro-apartments, some as small as 263 square feet. The new plan features 500 apartments, plus a parking garage and retail space to include a grocery store.

Kahane said rent payments are expected to stay under an estimated $500 per month. He also said the changes will not set AHF behind on its timeline.

The changes come as a way for AHF to try and address claims that the first design didn't match the city's vision for downtown as laid out in  the Downtown Master Plan. That plan encourages developers to consider mixed-use buildings in the area.

Read More: AIDS Healthcare Foundation Responds To Criticism Of Fort Lauderdale Affordable Housing Development

"We hope we'll garner support from the community," the project's lead architect Margi Nothard said. "I think we really did listen, but we are keeping the main ideas."

Kahane said "affordability is still key." 

Across Broward County, the  majority of households are cost-burdened or severely cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30 percent, and even 50 percent of their monthly income only on rent. The average rent in Broward County tops $1,800 per month, according to county data.

The Foundation is also planning to fund a new substation for emergency and EMS services in the area, which includes the Rio Vista neighborhood. Some residents had complained at meetings and on social media that adding a large apartment building would overburden existing EMS services.

The EMS substation would be located at the corner of 7th Street and 4th Avenue.

Kahane said the EMS substation was a decision in part, "to try to show everyone that we want to be good neighbors."

The Foundation has not completed its new design, but expects to present modifications to City of Fort Lauderdale staff within the coming months.

Copyright 2020 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

Caitie Switalski is a rising senior at the University of Florida. She's worked for WFSU-FM in Tallahassee as an intern and reporter. When she's in Gainesville for school, Caitie is an anchor and producer for local Morning Edition content at WUFT-FM, as well as a digital editor for the station's website. Her favorite stories are politically driven, about how politicians, laws and policies effect local communities. Once she graduates with a dual degree in Journalism and English,Caitiehopes to make a career continuing to report and produce for NPR stations in the sunshine state. When she's not following what's happening with changing laws, you can catchCaitielounging in local coffee shops, at the beach, or watching Love Actually for the hundredth time.