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Developers of three projects expected to bring a total of 73 affordable housing units to Charlotte County shared their plans with the county’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee on Wednesday. 

Chris Martiner is the managing director of The Strategic Group, an Atlanta-based nationwide investment and development group that has built 1,200 affordable housing units in seven states. He said the company purchased four lots in Rotonda West, where two 32-unit apartment buildings are planned. 

Sovereign at Parkside East on Parade Circle in Rotonda West will be for seniors with incomes less than 60% of the Area Median Income, or AMI. Rents for the 32 units will range from $521 to $847 per month. 

The Strategic Group chose this site for senior housing because it is across the street from a park with tennis courts and walking trails, providing a scenic view, Martiner said. 

The second development, Sovereign at Harbor West, also on Parade Circle, will be for families whose AMI also is less than 60%. Monthly rents for the 32 units will also range from $521 to $847. 

“We’ve been working on these deals for one year,” Martiner said. Construction is expected to begin in June 2024 with completion in July 2025. 

Martiner said his company will employ a third-party property management company. Prospective tenants must be income qualified and then qualify to occupy the unit. Tenants must recertify income each year.  

Funding comes from several sources, including county funds set aside for Hurricane Ian recovery. 

Florida Housing Finance Corp. was created by the State Legislature more than 40 years ago to assist in providing a range of affordable housing opportunities, issues tax credits, and banks and investors are also involved in projects like these, Martiner said. 

The third project called Stillwater is on Stillwater Avenue in Port Charlotte and is under construction to create nine apartments for residents whose income is less than 60% of the AMI. Rents for all units are proposed at $719 a month. 

Stillwater is a former convent built in the 1970s. It had 13 tiny bedrooms, said P.J. Brooks, chief operating officer of nonprofit Community Assisted and Supported Living, which is developing the project. 

The building recently received a new metal roof after damage from Hurricane Ian, and the interior is being gutted to create larger units. 

Brooks, a licensed mental health counselor, said Stillwater is primarily for those who have become homeless and unable to work, find employment or have low income due to disabilities, substance abuse, and/or mental health problems. 

His nonprofit organization has provided 1,188 beds in nine counties and plans to add more than 400 in the next several years. 

Community Assisted and Supported Living, which worked with partners Carteret Management Corp. and Blue Sky Communities, developed and built the 88-unit Jacaranda Place on Loveland Boulevard in Port Charlotte for disabled persons and small families. 

Jacaranda Place, completed in October 2022, has a variety of amenities, including a clubhouse, pool, on-site laundry and, similar to what Stillwater will have, assistance and support systems for those who need it. Brooks said Stillwater will have mentors, who’ve had similar difficulties as tenants, available to offer support. 

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