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Carson, Rubio To Celebrate Groundbreaking Of Biggest OZ Project In Miami-Dade

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio and others are expected to be on-site in Allapattah Thursday to celebrate a groundbreaking at Three Round Towers, a low-income housing complex that is undergoing a renovation.

The $106M redevelopment project is the largest qualified opportunity zone affordable housing project in the county, according to Miami-Dade County's Public Housing and Community Development department, giving it national significance. 

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson at Bisnow's 2019 Opportunity Zone Summit

"This is the largest qualified opportunity zone affordable housing project in the nation in terms of total unit count (383) and the combined total development cost of the three buildings (over $106M)," a spokesperson for the county said.

The project, located at 2870 NW 18th Ave., was originally built in 1970 as three towers on nearly 7 acres. A $15M upgrade of Tower A, which contains 128 public housing units, began in 2017 and was completed last year, the Miami Times reports. That project also included refurbishing the Towers’ Malcolm Ross Senior Center/Community Center.

Thursday marks the beginning of Phase 2, a major rehabilitation of towers B and C, which together contain 263 public housing units, and Brisas del Este, a new 120-unit project. 

The funding mix includes $24M in Qualified Opportunity Zone financing in the purchase of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and funds from HUD's HOME program, which provides grants to state and local governments.

It also includes money from the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, under which Miami-Dade County maintains ownership of the land, while private development partners get a 75-year lease and properties are co-managed by private firms and PHCD. 

Funding also includes a Purchase Money Mortgage of $18M from the county to the developer, Related Urban Development Group, and county and state surtax funds.  

"The layering of financing makes this development the largest of its kind in the country, to date, that utilizes a combination of Opportunity Zone Funds, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Rental Assistance Demonstration Funding, HOME, and other public housing associated resources," PHCD said in a statement.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami-Dade County Department of Housing and Urban Development Director Michael Liu, Related Group CEO Jorge Perez, Deputy Mayor Maurice Kemp and RUDG CEO Albert Milo are expected to be on hand Thursday. 

Miami-Dade has approximately 9,000 public housing units, which serve about 18,000 low-income residents. The county has a need for about $2B to address deteriorating conditions throughout its properties — units are about 40 years old on average.