“Not only do these new residences at 87 Evergreen Ave. feature below-market rent, they will be certified green through the Florida Green Building Coalition, meaning a lower cost of living each month going forward,” FGBC board Member Mary Tappouni said in a statement.
In 2000 FGBC brought together industry professionals from the construction, government, academic and research communities to create green standards tailored specifically to Florida.
The new building will include two apartments — each a three-bedroom one-bath residence with the rent ending up somewhere around $900 per month. The developers say this price compares to the overall housing market where an average two-bedroom rental goes for north of $1,000 monthly.
SJHP executive director Bill Lazar said that he is “very excited” with the start of the partnership’s first new rental project.
“Lisa Drudi of SJHP has been working hard on this and it’s finally coming out of the ground,” Lazar said. “Many working middle-class families cannot afford to reside in St. Augustine, even if they are employed here. This project is a major step towards alleviating this problem.”
Lazar noted that 25 percent of workers commute to St Johns County for their jobs, traveling from Putnam County or Duval County. This scenario hurts — because these workers, including police officers, firefighters, schoolteachers and others, are taking money out of the local economy only to spend it where they live.
“Thanks to Ameris Bank for providing financing that will allow us to build at least a dozen units over the next 12-months,” Lazar said, pointing out that this is one of the first truly, verifiable, affordable housing rentals built in St. Johns County in almost 15 years.
The St. Johns Housing Partnership says it promotes safe, decent and affordable housing by creating links between the public and private sectors on projects that create low- and moderate-income housing, rebuild neglected homes and neighborhoods, thus benefiting disadvantaged areas and enhancing community economic and social development.
FGBC’s five certifications provide pathways to build green homes, developments, local governments, high rises and commercial buildings.
National standards like USGBC LEED and Green Globes also move contractors and owners towards environmentally friendly building. “Florida Green” standards take a scientific approach and are developed with state-specific criteria. They address Florida’s hot-humid environment, distinctive topography, unique geology, resiliency and natural disasters.