In May the Palm Coast City Council approved an initiative to turn its slow-growing Town Center area into an “innovation district,” where developers would get tax breaks and innovative companies would get extra attention.
Today, the city announced plans for an 88-unit, three-building apartment complex on 9 acres on the southeast corner of Bulldog Drive and Central Avenue, diagonally across from Epic Theatres and within eyesight of Flagler Palm Coast High School to the south and Palm Coast City Hall to the north.
The city sees the project as the first in its “Innovation District.” As an incentive to the developer, it will get a $440,000 credit in utility impact fees–the one-time fee developers pay to defray the cost of the impact of development on a community–which the city would make up by using tax revenue from the Town Center Community Redevelopment Agency.
To qualify for the incentives, projects in the innovation district must be under construction by December 2020.
The complex is to be developed by the Coconut Grove-based Housing Trust Group, which boasts on its website of being the “number 1 affordable housing developer” in Florida, and of being ranked among the top-35 most affordable housing developers in the nation. In March, for example, it opened a $36 million, 104-unit complex in Spring Hill, north of Tampa, where apartments’ monthly rent ranged from $287 to $704 per month (including a utility allowance). The apartments ranged from 673 square feet to 1,162 square feet, and were offered to residents 55 and over within a certain income range.
The Town Center apartment complex, to be called The Palms at Town Center, will not be age-restricted. Projected rents are not yet clear. It will have amenities including a clubhouse, pool, dog park, volleyball area and nature path. The three buildings will be three stories tall.
The developer applied for site-plan approval in August and has gone through one round of review with the city’s Planning Division staff, according to a release the city issued this morning. The project is scheduled to go to the Palm Coast Planning Board for approval consideration on Oct. 17. Approval by the Palm Coast City Council would not be required because the complex consists of fewer than 100 units.
Apartment complex proposals have typically generated opposition in Palm Coast, almost always by residents within a neighboring radius of the proposed development. But just as often–as was the case with a recently approved apartment complex off Old Kings Road, near the Woodlands, and a rezoning that would permit an apartment complex off Old Kings Road near State Road 100–opponents would claim that Town Center was better suited for apartment complexes.
The Palms at Town Center would appear be a protest-proof proposal, though many Palm Coast residents, favoring prejudice over accommodation, have also been quick to oppose any project that would provide affordable, subsidized housing under any guise. “It seems that Mayor Milissa Holland and her rubber-stamp City Council are hell-bent on flooding the city with low-income, Section 8 housing while ignoring the detrimental impact that this will have on all Palm Coast residents,” a letter to the Palm Coast Observer by Palm Coast resident Jose Vasquez read before adding: “She describes low-income, Section 8 recipients as good, decent people the same way our president refers to Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and race haters as “very fine people,” and it makes you wonder who do we have locked up in prisons that number 2 million nationwide?” Vasquez, of course, provided no evidence to his claims about affordable housing residents.
Town Center is already part of a Community Redevelopment Area, a geographic zone where, past a certain base threshold, all property tax revenue remains within the CRA. The zone was created as a means of spurring development, with tax revenue used to ensure a well-developed infrastructure attractive to developers. The infrastructure was developed. The developers have been scarce, however, as the infrastructure’s development coincided with the bursting of the housing bubble. Town Center is 17-percent developed so far. Earlier this year, the council added a new layer of incentives through its “innovation district.”
“The City Council created the Innovation District earlier this year as a way to refocus development interest in Town Center, which is within our Community Redevelopment Area,” said Wynn Newingham, Head of Innovation & Economic Growth for the City. “The vision for Town Center is a mix of forward-thinking residential and non-residential developments in the area around Central Park. The Palms apartments is a perfect fit, and we welcome them to Palm Coast.”
The innovation district’s project is within the scope of the city’s “kick-start” incentive program. The Palms project is also eligible for transportation impact fee credits provided by Allete Properties, LLC, the parent developer of Town Center.
Developers have shown strong interest in Town Center in recent months, with other potential projects including condos/townhouses and another apartment complex on Central Avenue, as well as a retail commercial building near the intersection of Central and Bulldog, said City of Palm Coast Planning Manager Ray Tyner. The city has not received any formal applications for those developments, but is hopeful because the preliminary conversations with developers have been very positive, he said.
“We see The Palms at Town Center as a catalyst for more development,” Tyner said. “Bringing nice apartments and new residents of all ages into our downtown area will attract more and more restaurants and retail stores as Town Center continues to build out.”
Palm Coast’s Innovation District is centrally located within the urban core of Town Center. As defined by the Brookings Institute, an innovation district “facilitates the creation and commercialization of new ideas and support for economies by growing jobs in ways that leverage their distinct economic attributes.”
Palm Coast plans to build on the Innovation District vision by focusing on housing’s proximity to work and leisure activities, on the density of developments (more units packed in smaller spaces) and character. “Our future downtown is an innovative hub of activity,” Holland said in her state of the city address earlier this year, “a place that offers residents of all ages spaces to interact, enjoy the outdoors, go shopping or get inspired by arts and entertainment, and then grab a bite to eat – all within walking distance. The future Downtown will also include diverse housing options to provide convenience and quality of life improvements for those who desire to live, work and play within the same neighborhood.”
Existing development includes the Target shopping center, the Publix shopping center, an office building, Epic Theatres, professional office buildings, the Palm Coast Arts Foundation, senior apartments, townhouses and Palm Coast City Hall.
Cant wait for ALL the NO apartment comments on this one.
John Kent says
This city is on the path to have more crime that anyone could imagine.
Flagler County has no industry, doesn’t allow it yet by letting in people with insecure income they insure that the moment economy goes down those low income people will either leave in search of jobs elsewhere making those apartments a wasteland or turn to crime. Brainless officials are setting this city and county up to become a disaster. Enjoy it while it’s still nice here.
Where the rents will be 1500 for all the 10 an hour job workers here. Should work out fine.
robert greene says
Wait no longer. Above is just one in depth study showing violent crime rates increase substantially when Section 8 housing is introduced. The emphasis is on “violent”.
Beginning of the end for town center. An entertainment District would actually give residents some things to do. Just sayin Low end Housing for folks with need of subsidies is not the answer, at lesst not there. . You are developing for the sake of it .As usual no plan or vision whatsoever sighhhhh
robert greene says
As for property values when low income/section 8 housing is introduced, studies have found that in already low income neighborhoods, property values increase, but in middle income neighborhoods, they go down. One rather exhaustive study done by a realtors association went as far as concluding that if you live within a 4000 ft (almost a mile) radius of low income housing, your property value will decline. So, get out your tape measure.
Jose Vasquez says
On March 23, 2017 In a letter to the Palm Coast Observer I outlined the reasons why low income housing eventually brings urban blight to the detriment of all. I cited as an example the “Gardens of Daytona” rent subsidized low income apartment complex which receives taxpayer funded rent subsidies of $2 million dollars annually as well as $400,000 in annual utility subsidies. According to a 2015 Daytona Beach News-Journal article the complex generated over 5000 police calls from January 2012 to June 2016. A multitude of crimes at the complex included but not limited to Armed Robbery, Carjacking, Narcotics, Gun Shootings, Assaults, Car Thefts. I can’t think of any city or any individual who would want this in their city or much less for a neighbor. If Palm Coast thinks it can build low income housing without the accompanying issues of crime, urban blight, gun violence, gangs, drugs etc they will be sadly mistaken and any resident living close to these complexes will see a severe detrimental impact.
Mary Fusco says
Bill, I’ll start. It is the beginning of the end. I witnessed this same scenario over 30 years ago when we lived in a very rural area of NY. However, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Lordie Lordie. Holland is determined to torpedo our quality of life.
Mary Fusco says
It does have to do with property values but the major inpact is on lifestyle. Believe me, I witnessed an excellent school district destroyed. After that, families just start to move away. There is usually a mix in these apartment complexes. Once the paying mix realizes what is going on, they move resulting in a total ghetto situation. We are close enough for Daytona and JAX to move right in. My daughter lives in JAX and you would not want to hear the stories she has to tell. Very frightening. But, what will be, will be. What is really funny is that a high percentage of those voting for these complexes, most likely live behind gated communities with all kinds of security systems in place. LOL.
And this is what the leadership of Palm Coast has in mind, low income housing.in the very heart of the Town Center . What new methods to acquire new voters, its not going to work. I have nothing against low income housing but this is not the location. Find another Something close to US 1.
With all the empty houses in town will be going down to shacks,
Who would want to pay 1000 or more a month for a house when they can live
In low rent apartments,paid for by tax payers.
What gated community does mayor live in?
No do not need to encourage any developer with our hard earned taxes. This BS about 440,000 impact fees voided is ridiculous…Is this the sickening vision that the city has… and all for Town Center? Keep bringing more residents and no jobs? Then we have increased crime. Is Holland loosing her mind over grease? We need a moratorium in apartments building not an exemption on impact fees that then are charged to the existing residents pockets! Stop the Town Center benefits why the heck don’t let the Town Center developers pay the over 144,000 for the consultant to bring businesses to it other than having it paid by the city taxpayers who’s old Palm Coast is neglected? What about the widening of Old Kings Road way overdue? The landscape beautification to erase the blight of Florida Park Drive, Mayor and council..?
Concerned Resident says
Affordable housing for what? If you can’t afford to live here then don’t. There are less expensive communities to live in. Move there.
Chris Howell says
Well kids been great knowing you. Time to go. Enjoy the soon to be crime filled city thanks to Holland the liar and the rest of the incompetent Council of losers crappy choices! “Hide your children and hide your wives, they raping everyone out here!”
I had to first laugh and then find it ironic that someone with name ‘Jose Vasquez’, would be so quick to show prejudice to section 8 housing as it is obvious that low income/section 8 housing is often associated with certain minorities, but if someone with the name such as his choose so quickly to ‘incinuate’ a certain class of renters, he may just want to change his last name from Vasquez to ‘Pot’, as in the old saying between a pot and a kettle. One needs only to travel through certain areas of Miami, in what the police call The Combat Zone and is can assure you, he will find many mail boxes with his last name, not to mention the overnight jail/arrest records in the paper. Now, if I’m wrong and Mr. Vazquez comes from a long line of blonde hair, blue eyed vikings from Scandinavia, then I take back my equally shameful assumptions such as his, but I doubt there will be a need for that LOL
Yea,that’s what this city needs.
The Epic theaters will suffer when the low income people begin to hang out there. I witnessed the same crap in Coney Island. It is time to employ the same tactics of the left. The morons on the city council seem determined to destroy Palm Coast. Ever since we became a city after ITT relinquished control, we have been on a death spiral.
Really? What is wrong with our city officials? Why not make our town center a place to blend with recreation and entertainment while having those types of businesses near by. Specially shops, ice cream, pizza… maybe like a mini European Village. This is so upsetting…
There’s mostly good people living in section-8 settings. Those people are
the over 55 set and, or people with physical, and non-violent mental disabilities.
The bad apples, the ones who are “disabled” due to alcohol or drug abuse should
not live in the same building or development with the aforementioned.
Here in New England there’s low-income housing that’s subject to background
checks. But the background checks only filter out convicted sexual offenders,
depending on the “gravity” of their offense.
So here there’s people coming out of prison and directly into HUD Section-8
buildings. Nice neighbors huh? There’s a building I know of (a mix of market rents
and low-income units) populated with drug dealers, violent mentally ill people,
people falling over from being inebriated, grifter types, living with elderly and
vulnerable law-abiding people whose voices are mostly ignored.
Building management starts the eviction process after dozens of complaints—
the tenant goes to legal aid, face off in court with building management.
The bad tenant wins most of the time and stays. “Bad tenant” feels invincible, and
spreads his attitude to the other bad apples. A good building becomes a dumping
ground for society’s square pegs.
One such square peg is a fellow known as “shake and bake,” a man that’s about
fifty years old and is falling over drunk from morning to night. He threatens women
he encounters on building property, he defecates on the floor of his apartment,
atop the trash he hoards, he passes gas as he walks by and thinks it’s funny.
Twice, a toxic waste cleanup company has sent mask-wearing employees to
clean out this man’s unit at a cost of about $6,000 a pop. Last go around, they
removed 2 dumpsters of feces-ridden garbage. The guy clearly needs to be in
a mental facility. He has been removed twice, only to return a few weeks later
after a hearing in housing court. He has a right to self-neglect!
People in Florida have this right as well—Google it.
A lot of these people have never held a job, and have been on the dole for many
years. It becomes a lifestyle where you live off the fat of the land permanently.
Why go to work and lose guaranteed housing and free medical care and drugs???
The good people who paid withholding taxes faithfully for years out of their paychecks,
and became disabled through no fault of their own have to live in danger and filth
in common areas because of these questionable neighbors.
Section-8 and low-income housing requirements need to be re-thought.
Everyone needs a place to live, but we shouldn’t be mixing good, vulnerable citizens
with potentially dangerous people.
I understand the N.I.M.B.Y. people. It’s also sad that assistance-deserving people get
caught up in the crossfire. Too bad for the property owning community as well…
Ask your local government what the exact criteria for renting is going to be at the development
in question, being that it’s not going to be age-restricted.
A simple google search for Housing Trust Corp., the developer, shows 3.5 out of 5 stars. Many comments are negative. How much research went into the selection of this developer? How will the maintenance and repair of this property be paid for in the future when low income assistance funds at the Federal level are being reduced.
Good jobs. Where are they? This area should be more like what they are doing to the outlet area off of LGPA in Daytona. We still have a very long way to go. When are our commissioners and Mayor going to wake up and listen to the people?
Whether their reasoning is right or wrong, the simple truth is the vast majority of property and business owners do not want to be anywhere near a Section 8 housing project. Trying to “vitalize” Town Center with a low income housing project, especially as a beginning, is downright dumb.
Let’s focus on building apartments all over, with ridiculous rents and cater to the retiring demographic from the northern pension belt When we need to be focusing growing business and making business want to choose palm coast. Once the retiring demographic from up north ends and there is no more pensions palm coasts ideal of taking all the guaranteed money will be over. And nothing will be left but a wasteland of crime.. think we need to reevaluate our strategy here..
A Concerned Observer says
I have a couple common sense questions, not a complaint on this project. Politicians are constantly telling voters that they will lower taxes and provide additional and better services. Basic finance dictate that the cost necessary for any product or service is driven by the funds necessary to initially produce and then maintain that service or product throughout its life. Can everyone agree on this tenet? The $440K incentive offered to the developer will come out of local tax generated funds. Incentives given for this purpose cannot then be used to cover other services or projects for which impact fees are used to cover without increasing the taxes on homeowners to keep this account solvent. This new complex is to include some rather expensive and very attractive amenities (a clubhouse, pool, dog park, volleyball area and nature path). Initial costs, lifecycle maintenance and common use utilities of these amenities must be covered somehow. Who fixes the toilet when it starts leaking? Who replaces light bulbs in common use hallways and common use areas? Who paints and repairs the apartment when a tenant leaves? Who fixes the roof when it leaks? This property will not be sold to the residents, so whoever will reside there will not purchase home owner insurance. What about hurricane insurance coverage? With the lofty goal of this project to provide low income, affordable housing, how will these costs be covered? The builder is done with the project upon completion, so they have no concern how their beautiful and attractive property will be maintained in perpetuity. Will this project have a dreaded “Home Owners Association” to manage the property? Remember, no government can give anyone anything without first taking it from someone else. I cannot get behind any project such as this without answers to these questions.
What a bad idea and place.
@Hunter, the one showing real ignorant prejudice is you. Thank God for our first amendment when even allows bigots like you attack a different ethnic American citizen exercising his freedom of speech as well and allow me to defend..
Looks like you forgot that you live in Florida (spanish for bloomed) and that our first settlers here had the same looking name you despise other than “Jose” was “Juan” Ponce De Leon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Florida
Being such a zealot how could you bare to reside in Florida? Jeez what an excruciating torture maybe and bet you never visit Saint Augustine right..? Obvious reason why you hate beautiful Miami were the richest and famous people of the world pay in gold to reside or to visit. Miamian’s are better off without you there…too bad you moved here. Glad that most American brothers and sisters do not have an ounce of the hate that poisons you and we all treat each other with respect in this melting pot called USA were the only one’s with first right to our land are our proud native american tribes:https://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-tribelist/. You never had history class in school I bet!
Our leaders have no leadership skills, bringing in another apartment complex , what about jobs that pay 15-20$ an hour ? If these apartments go for 1500 a month and a person makes 10-15$ an hour it’s not going to cut it. Look around the city at all the homes going up and more to come on the west side called cluster homes where lots are no longer 80×125 but 50×100 jamming more people in smaller spaces, I heard from one city official that they do not want industry here but only residential and have the people commute to Jax and Orlando for the high paying jobs, 18 years here , time has come to move on
Little bird says
Subsidize the developer at cost of taxpayers to build subsidized appartments and that’s the magic potion to attract upscale businesses and professional jobs to build in the “heart” of Palm Coast? I feel even our city officials have given up: Walmart won’t build a second shop in this area despite a half-a-million dollar annual cost of an economic development crew so they give up & put Section 8 smack in Town Center and expect applause. Landon was a dated egocentric who pushed town center but this is disaster impacting more than just his legacy. Sad..
tom mutschler says
Bad idea !!! In total conflict with why most of us bought here. It will change the entire atmosphere of the town.
There is one problem that I see with all the time our taxes going to benefit rich developers bringing more housing here without the property infrastructure or jobs to sustain them and taking away from the current residents quality of life and services while having us to fund developers. The problem is that no one goes to these council meetings to oppose these plans and the current council and mayor like the one before except Nobile gone and Sheiply both out voted all the time, are just rubber stamp for developers interest ignoring the needs of old Palm Coast neglected and blight stricken. I been to several of the meetings and the absent of the public request and interest gives them green flag to do as they please as once elected they brake all the promises and turn against the non wealthy taxpayers in favor of developers most out of this area.
Very conveniently built that unwanted city hall (courtesy of Netts) enough faraway from the heart of Palm Coast that now given the 10 miles trip and its cost city residents do not attend as much as they used too. Exactly what the elected that do not represent our needs want! Almost half a million of our taxes to give away to the developer and another 144,000 of our taxes for a consultant to energize what else..?Town Center too and bring more businesses or events there. Consultant among other things advising for a millionaire event hall to be built. No more capital project in our pockets instead repair and replace our sewer and drainage, widen and landscape the overdue Old Kings Road north with ten times the traffic that the Old Kings South widening years ago, costing over 10 millions just to benefit Town Center also. This OKR north also should direct the traffic away from narrow Florida Park Drive and include proper landscape of FPD along its sidewalk, to erase the blight. Something was never done when city used those private properties right of ways to build the needed sidewalk. So mayor please do not come up again with the fact that you are not comfortable using taxpayers moneys for ornamental landscape for private properties that is right of way with city easement…how come you don’t mind half a million for developers giveaway? We only use our taxes for developers pork barrel with grease maybe..?
Lets change the council one or two at the time…so the residents needs and request are heard lets seat Howell and Tipton. Lets also change the county commissioners with McDonald and Gentile Youd! Chages we need until our pleas heard!
Jose Vasquez says
@Hunter, I thank you for your response but on the validity of your points we will agree to disagree. Granted that many a “Vasquez” live in rent subsidized section 8 ghetto housing and are a frequent patron of federal, state and local prisons, I can assure you that is not me. Life is about choices, Mr. Hunter, I chose to get a college education, to serve my country as a Commissioned Army Officer and to live a life free of drugs, crime, gang banging, while never embracing a “thug life”. I am under no obligation to support negative dysfunctional lifestyles simply because they share my skin tone, ethnicity or any other facet that determines who we are. I can further assure you that I do not associate with the type of “Vasquez” that you refer to nor do I support in any way people that embrace self destructive lifestyles that destroys not only their lives but their families as well. There is nothing funny, Mr. Hunter, about embracing the good things that a positive life can bring and I don’t prejudge you simply because many a “Hunter” live in rent subsidized section 8 ghetto housing and is are a frequent patron of federal, state and local prisons. I judge each person on their own character and integrity, not on their skin tone and ethnicity.
Just the latest example of how Government is picking winners or losers using taxpayer money. Why should all the other taxpayers in Palm Coast subsidize this apartment complex with a $440,000 utility credit. I demand equal treatment from Palm Coast. These liberals are very generous with other people’s money.
Good! We need more apartment complexes, not just for affordable housing for working people, but sustainable use of the land.
Town Center is an utter joke, and will end up with mostly high occupancy buildings. Simply the cost of the street lights burning all night long is ridiculous. Meanwhile they claim they can’t put street lights in residential areas. BS! The ONLY tax base in Palm Coast is property tax, and this city is pushing to build everywhere it can to maximize tax income. A forensic audit would reveal a lot.
Because low income subsidized apartment complexs will stimulate growth lmao
JEAN DEGRAFF says
I am shocked at the way you so called Palm Coast residence ridicule people who are trying to make a way for their families to live a decent life. You all who are against this residential complex coming to Town Center. You truly need to check your Empathy Meter. It is on empty. Who are you to decide where people should live. Check your own backyard before you stereo type things you know nothing about, I’m not from Palm Coast. I moved here almost four years ago. I’m from New York and it’s very diverse there. no one challenges any one about their inability to survive as long as they’re hard working, and with the wages you pay , you should be ashamed. The pay DOES NOT balance out with the cost of living here. I’m fortunate because I worked all my life in New York , If not I probably would be one of these people trying to find decent affordable housing. .As a recent resident of this community, it is beginning to leave a nasty taste in my mouth. I have a beautiful home here and everyday I wish I can relocate it somewhere else because of the illusion of friendliness they sell. Let’s just hope that someday all of you who are complaining about this new development do not find yourselves falling on hard times and must scucume to the very thing you’re complaining about.
monika max says
This project is not the best design, city need urban planning – to attract residents you need restaurants, banks, stores, sidewalks, architectural space for older people and for families with children, place of rest – and play, small architecture good idea especially in the hot area like
fountains on a sidewalk for children, some playground some benches,
water park good idea great attracts, In order for this to develop it must attract people from outside, not only residents. This project is focused on the parking section which dominates this area, apparently, the residents will spend all their time there. The architectural design very ordinary, in this place, it would be appropriate to design something original, attractive to residents and guests
Rosalie Ferry says
I’m excited about the the upcoming The Palms at Town Center. How can i get an application for this location? I find it quite exciting actually. Thanks,