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New $130M mixed-income housing complex breaks ground in Caguas

The Puerto Rico Department of Housing and affordable housing developer, McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc., announced the closing on the financing and start of construction of a $130 million mixed-income housing in Caguas.

Located on
vacant land that was previously a public housing site, the new community
includes housing options that are affordable to families and seniors with a
broad array of incomes, developers said.

When
completed, the 20-acre site in south Caguas will have 238 apartments for
families in townhomes and walk-up apartments and a 200-unit apartment building
for seniors. The new community will also include administrative building with a
community room with a business area and wi-fi, fitness room and management
space. 

The
community will have integrated health and safety features including an enhanced
lighting plan, security-controlled parking, smart keys and smart home security,
fitness and walking trails, small playgrounds, a community gathering
public-park with a main plaza and multiple gazebos.

The entire
community has been designed to be resilient to major storm events, developers
said.

“Since
Hurricanes Irma and María, not only has there been an acute need for more
high-quality affordable housing, but also for making sure that that housing is
resilient in the face of new storms,” said Vincent R. Bennett, president of
McCormack Baron Salazar.

“The
buildings will include solar photo-voltaic systems and are designed to have
natural cross-ventilation and reduce heat gain, in the case of power outages,”
Bennett said.

The Department
of Housing, McCormack Baron Salazar, and private investors financed the development
through a public-private partnership that used government money dollars to leverage
private equity, resulting in just under $130 million invested in the effort.

The new family
apartments include with one-, two-, three-and four-bedroom units affordable to
families with a range of incomes: 60 percent are reserved for very-low income
families, 20 percent are reserved for workforce, and 20 percent have
market-rate rents.

The senior
building has 190 one-bedroom units and 10 2-bedroom units, of which 95 percent
are reserved for very-low income seniors and 5 percent are reserved for
low-income seniors. 

The new
community “elevates the standard for community design in Caguas by connecting
to nearby commercial centers with restaurants and shopping, medical facilities,
hospitals, an elementary school, and surrounding residential neighborhoods,”
developers stated.

In addition,
the site is adjacent to the Villa del Carmen Recreational Park — which features
a small community center, a running track, play equipment, and a skate park.

“Working
with the Department of Housing during the recovery from the 2017 hurricanes has
underlined how important it is to bring well-designed and well-built affordable
housing options to Puerto Rico,” said Daniel F. Acosta, senior vice president
of McCormack Baron Salazar and director of development in Puerto Rico.

“We’re
excited to be able to bring the partners together to finance and build a
resilient community for the residents of Caguas,” he said.

McCormack Baron
Salazar is also the lead developer in the redevelopment of housing sites in
Historic Old San Juan and in in the Central Business District in San Juan.

A component
of the McCormack Baron Salazar development approach is layering public and
private funds to transform communities across the country. In Caguas, the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development and Puerto Rico Department of Housing have committed
significant funding including CDBG-DR funds, and the Puerto Rico Housing
Finance Authority has provided low-income housing tax credits.

RBC Capital
Markets is providing tax credit equity and Citi Community Capital is serving as
the construction lender. Planning and architectural services are provided by Álvarez-Díaz
& Villalón. F&R Construction Group, Inc. is the general contractor.

Author Details
This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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