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$81M Mixed-Income Housing Project Underway As West Palm Beach Begins To Boom

Fort Lauderdale-based Affiliated Development, which specializes in mixed-use multifamily developments, announced Monday that it has started construction on an $81M mixed-income workforce housing project called The Grand in downtown West Palm Beach.

It is the latest in a wave of developments for West Palm Beach. The city has been growing with an influx of residents and financial firms, leading to demand for office space and residences. About two weeks ago, government officials approved a plan for the University of Florida, which is based in Gainesville, to open a satellite campus in West Palm Beach.

Fort Lauderdale-based Affiliated Development has started construction on the highly anticipated mixed-income workforce housing project The Grand in West Palm Beach.

In December 2019, the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency and the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development awarded Affiliated Development $15M in incentives, so two-thirds of the units at The Grand will be income-restricted, starting at 80% of area median income. The development fits with West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James’ stated goal of building 500 workforce units in three years.

The Grand site is located between Second and Third streets along Rosemary Avenue and will be within walking distance of the Brightline private train and Tri-Rail commuter rail stations. An announcement said the eight-story building will offer 301 one- and two-bedroom apartments and nine three-bedroom townhomes with ground-floor commercial space. Completion is expected in spring 2023.

The plan for a satellite campus for the University of Florida would put graduate-level programs in the city, with programs beginning in leased space in the fall of 2022 and a new campus built by the fall of 2026, the Palm Beach Post reported.

City and county commissioners have agreed to turn over for free 2.23 acres of public land worth $4.8M for the campus, so long as real estate developer Jeff Greene, a billionaire famous for making a fortune betting against the housing market circa 2008, also kicks in some property.

Greene is developing a two-tower project called One West Palm, with 328 apartments in one tower plus a hotel and office space in the second tower. He also opened a private school, The Greene School. 

New York-based Related Cos. is in the midst of a $550M overhaul of the outdoor mall and mixed-use project once named City Place, which it built in 2000. The refresh included the demolition of a once-signature Macy's on the property and a renaming as Rosemary Square. Related Cos. added a 20-story office building called 360 Rosemary next door, luring tenants including Goldman Sachs, and has three more towers planned.

Nearby, Related Group, South Florida's most prolific luxury developer, broke ground this year on Icon Marina Village, a pair of 24-story towers next to a megayacht marina on Flagler Drive. Developers who were instrumental in Miami's Wynwood Arts District, NDT and Place Projects reportedly bought a block of buildings to redevelop.

“West Palm Beach is in the infancy of a boom," Chris Leavitt, executive director of luxury sales at Douglas Elliman, told the South Florida Business Journal last week.