The Palm Coast City Council on Tuesday approved a rezoning of about 11 acres on Old Kings Road just north of State Road 100 that would clear the way for a 240-unit gated apartment complex on 22 acres, plus six town homes. The complex will consist of two four-story buildings and four three-story buildings.
Just two weeks ago, the Flagler Beach City Commission approved a 240-apartment complex on nearby Roberts Road. Once built the complexes should make a considerable dent in the region’s apartment deficit.
The Old Kings Road project, called the Tribute, is the work of a company called Ravenshill Holdings tied to the developers who completed Tuscan Reserve, the apartment complex completed to the northwest of Tom Gibbs Chevrolet and now fully leased.
The complex will go up on acreage just south of what was to be the Walmart Supercenter over a decade ago, before Walmart reversed course on that plan, but after Palm Coast shifted Old Kings Road to accommodate the project, for over $6 million. (Property owners along the road are still paying that debt down.) The complex would be just north of Kings Pointe Lake, around which, at the south end, a RaceTrac and a Popeye’s are operating. The developers’ attorney hinted that the project could tip Walmart, which still owns the land to the north, back toward construction.
The land in question before the council Tuesday totals 22 acres. It’s zoned commercial. It belongs to Tom Gibbs of the Flagler Pioneer Group (John Gazzoli of Palm Coast and Judith Gibbs of Ormond Beach are also listed agents). Gibbs was seeking to rezone half the acreage from commercial to multi-family zoning, and sell the full acreage to Ravenshill Holdings (owned by a Tallahassee-based company called Cogency Global, and represented by Neel Stacy). The acreage is now under contract. That contract is contingent on the 11 acres getting rezoned.
Ravenshill Holdings intends to combine the two 11-acre parcels to develop the apartment complex. The smallest apartment will be 650 square feet.
Charlie Faulkner, who is representing the developer, said the project is called “The Tribute” in tribute to Old Kings Road and its history. The developers intend to preserve what archeological remains of the old road may offer visitors. He said the proposal is well positioned to be close to the hospital, shopping, I-95 and the beach, while being isolated from existing residential development. “This is the best location in all of Flagler county for an apartment project development,” he said. “The bottom line is we have no neighbors.” Everything around the proposed development is high-intensity commercial development.
Stacy said his company–different name, same team–built Tuscan Reserve. He described the proposal as a “luxury” apartment complex. “There are now demand for these types of apartments as we’ve shown at Tuscan Reserve,” he said. “We’re seeing additional trends that are happening throughout the state of Florida where people are moving in from out of state at unprecedented numbers. And they’re moving into areas they previously did not move into such as Palm Coast or other areas. So you’re adding additional demand on top of the limited supply. So it’s a it’s a double squeeze right now that the city is experiencing. And the type of people that are moving in that I expect would be our resume profile at at the tribute would be very similar to what we had to Tuscan reserves.”
He said the average household income of residents at Tuscan Reserve is $88,500, quite a bit higher than the typical apartment dweller’s $40,000 to $50,000 income.
“So basically it’s going to be luxury workforce,” a perplexed Eddie Branquinho, the council member, asked Stacy.
“No,” Stacy replied, though he didn’t address Branquinho’s point so much as restate what he’d already said: “I think that we’re trying to build the highest quality apartment community in Palm Coast.”
“I am aware,” Council member Nick Klufas said, “that we’ll still need student housing and affordable housing with JU and UNF and the expansion of AdventHealth and the Florida hospital system, bringing jobs and college curriculum to our community, we’re going to need those additional types of housing as well.” He was referring to the coming campuses in Town Center of the University of Florida and Jacksonville University, as well as the new AdventHealth Hospital under construction on Palm Coast Parkway, though even students who share housing don’t generally result in household incomes of $88,000 a year.
“With all due respect,” Branquinho said, “this is anything but affordable housing and workforce housing.” He said he wasn’t questioning the quality, though he was questioning the density and “overbuilding.” He added: ” In my opinion, we do not have too many one-family homes in Palm Coast.” In fact, the city is at a deficit for affordable apartment choices.
Jay Livingston, the attorney who represents the developers clarified what he considered to be a misunderstanding: “It’s not a 10 acre project. Nor is it an affordable housing project. It’s a addition to what was supposed to be an affordable housing project that was a little over 11 acres, and total will be 22 acres.” A decade ago part of the land had been approved for an affordable-housing development. It fell through. The former owners of that proposal are no longer in the picture. “So, Mr. Branquinho, I understand your confusion because the history of this one is confusing, but it’s not an affordable project. It is supposed to be a high-end apartment project for the type of demographic that Mr. Stacy spoke to.”
The expected renters tend to be retirees testing out the area while building homes locally, or workers working out of their home, or workers in health care, Stacy said, with apartments tailored for home-office uses. Thus without making it explicit, Stacy used enough coded language to mean: there won’t be poor, subsidized renters. Traffic-wise, the complex is expected to add 670 daily trips as opposed to 4,600 if the land was used for commercial purposes, Faulkner said. The city’s planner saw no issues with the rezoning–it fits in with the city’s comprehensive plan–and the planning board recommended it 6-0.
The city requires developers to host at least one neighborhood meeting with residents in the zone surrounding their proposed project, to get a sense of public sentiment about it. The meeting the developers hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn drew no one. The public comment segment at Tuesday’s council meeting drew a few perspectives, starting with that of Charles Bowman, who opened with a compliment to Virginia Smith, the city clerk, for responding to public record request, and two smug and rude retorts to Mayor David Alfin (“I wasn’t speaking to you,” followed, when the mayor asked his name for the record, by: “David, don’t act like you don’t know me”), before asking the council members about their previous “communications” with the developers and Livingston. Mark Lewis wondered why commercial land was being converted to residential when the city’s tax base is lopsidedly weighed toward residential.
Others included some who complained about the lack of shopping or problems with water, and others who advocated for the project, including Mark Langello, the developer and member of the county planning board. He noted that “multifamily is an important element to a vibrant community, you can’t have a monolithic community of just houses,” whether it’s traveling nurses, managers of businesses, doctors prospecting locally. “There’s a lot of need for this type of community.”
He then addressed Branquinho’s concern: “When you have multi family, people think that this is causing a lot of extra development or they think it’s hurting your environment. Actually, it does the reverse. When you put 246 units on 20 acres, or whatever that would be, that’s far less of an impact to our environment than if you put 246 units on a bunch of individual lots. That’s called urban sprawl. And while we all want to have single family houses in our community, we we wouldn’t profess to have any monolithic-like whole bunch of apartments. But that actually is a far less destructive element to the environment than a bunch of single family houses. Also some people want to live in a community where they don’t take care of the outside of the house, and they want to live in an apartment community, they want to live close to other people. So it allows the freedom of choice. So I would encourage this project, it seems good on every phase.”
The council was not considering a site plan for the project: that will come next. The vote on Tuesday was only about the rezoning. The council approved the rezoning 3-1, with Branquinho opposed.
The apartment complex represents a shift in the area’s focus from commercial to high-density residential. The staff report included this revealing analysis about the shift in progress: “The market for brick and mortar retail and office uses has substantially declined over the last 10-15 years and this has become more relevant on secondary arterial roadways as most of the remaining commercial uses desire to be located along the three major east-west corridors in the City that have I-95 interchanges or nearby activity centers, where north-south arterial roadways intersect with these east-west corridors. This reduced demand for commercial services along this area of Old Kings Road makes residential uses more logical” the the property.
The City’s Staff Report on The Tribute:
Click to access tribute-apartments-rezoning.pdf
David S. says
What a joke . Not only will be destroying the land and running all the animals out what will the rent be $2000 per month for the cheapest appt……
That’s what the definition is for “Affordable Housing”, it’s like that Affordable Healthcare, $ 3/gallon Affordable Gasoline and anything else Green New Deal that’s unaffordable.
Jay Tomm says
If anything I rather nothing be built. BUT
Be real, It will be market price. Those 650 are 1 BR & should be no more then $900. The 2 br’s should be only around 900-1100 sf ft & should clock in around $1800. As long as it’s not low income like that thing in town center(drive around there at night, interesting neighbors), it will be fine. I rather have apts being built then all the lots of land being scooped up & houses being built. Also rather have that land NOT go to walmart. A super walmart in that area? Then we’ll have traffic on a weekend bad on both sides of palm coast.
They just tore up all the land on pine lakes for apts too. The growth is CRAZY. Going to have to move again in 10 years.
Just my last experience with the affordable housing thing several years ago in Fernandina Beach, FL. The apartments will eventually be subsidized housing and the apartment management will lease for 7 or 12 months and have rolling rental rate adjustments. The rate never decreased & only increased. What you sign a lease for means nothing beyond that you have to stay there for the full duration of the lease period and that apartment place, automatically raises the rate in the online payment system after leaving printed letters stating the effective date of the rent increase.
An apartment complex I lived in Miami, FL, they didn’t have separate water meters, yet the water bills were charged by the apartment. I found out later that I was paying 3X what my actual water consumption was every month that was added to my rent invoice. I later bought a condo in Miami that had the separate water meters for units. Same square footage, single occupancy was 1/3 what the apartment was charging for the same county water. What happens, is that over utilized apartments use more water because the per person for consumption may be the same but there are more occupants and they weren’t accounting for that, so I ended up paying another’s water bills. Some of those apartments had families of 3+ individuals for occupancy. Nothing I could do about it either. I bet they still charged the quarterly rate that water was billed for to those families every month too. Fraud & abuse for overcharging tenants.
Walmart already owns the land south directly up the street past the old cemetery.
$ 88,500 ? Who are those employers, where are those jobs in Flagler County, The county pays $ 15-20/hour and a lot of those job postings are temporary work for any given year of employment.
Land of no turn signals says says
Palm Coast moniker should be call little Queens.
Palm Coast turning into Orlando and all the crime , destruction of natural land, traffic, strip malls for miles, this town has become a joke!
Earl Scott says
I agree. Traffic on Palm Coast Parkway is a mess. I love my house but once the apartments come in traffic will be a mess in L section with golf course houses going in Schools are already in portables.
Instead of having land conservation council. There only a city council.
Where does Palm Coast
have a plan projection of what the consequence will result in from over excavating the lands and the development of multiple dwelling that will create over population of not only people but cars as well.
Is there a proposal record for a cut off stop of excavation of land and multiple building construction to avoid all the above.
Then community especially home owners have to address this strongly with it’s city council. To insure that there is a city ordinance that will have in place to avoid over development of any kind that will protect and provide conservation of land, air quality and environment for its present home owners.
Good question who are those employers? Sound like we are trying to weed out the low income folks.D.C. ,San Fran. and other major cities are doing. Not that P. C. is a major city, but time will tell what will happen. Are the $80+ earners from or are they big shots from N.Y, Miami, and other big cities, just asking.
Maybe those are dual income couples and then that number makes a little more sense at $ 45K per paycheck of a dual income household ? But that would be 2,080 hour FT hires at $ 20+/hour, not someone that works a summer or thru the budgeting process and then gets let go after 6 months and therefore a dual income household would be around $ 45K a year for true gross income numbers for rolling 6 month employment periods for those temporary workers. I bet we do an audit we’d find a lot of nepotism, cronyism for overcompensated labor that are getting paid quite well at the expense of others. It’s the way Capitalism has always worked in America. I mean when we hear terms like essential & non-essential workers from 2020’s pandemic ? The PPP was for the essentials, the non-essentials just were told to stay home, paid their own way, any way they could to get by. Not everyone got the same square deal for the pandemic, even here in 2021 as whatever recovery is going on.
Why don’t these idiots use land thats already been destroyed? why do they have to clear cut more land, when theres already plenty of acreage of already destroyed habitat available just across I-95? This is getting ridiculous, all these people do is big talk but no walk. theres literally no benefit to destroying old growth forrest, and it breaks my heart to see 100+ year old live oaks get knocked down and turned in to sawdust to accommodate an almost non existent market, if you’re making 90k a year, you’re more likely than not married, and you are going to be looking for a forever home, not a 2k a month apartment.
Keep Flagler Beautiful says
I totally agree with you, Neil. Why clear old forestland? There’s absolutely no need for it. Every time I drive on 100 toward the beach, I wonder how long those beautiful trees will remain. They’re always knocked down for the same junky strip malls with a nail salon, a fast food joint and a gym that will eventually fail. “They paved Paradise; put up a parking lot.”
more TRAFFIC & CONGESTION
and certainly going to cause problems because of DENSITY
MORE DEVELOPERS making their mark on the area
Taking their money
and leaving the Community with the mess ..
Like I have said before, don’t vote, don ‘t complain! You know who you are!
Concerned Citizen says
It’s going to be interesting to see who qualifes for those apartments.
Many years ago before I settled down and got married I apartment hunted and it was not easy on a single persons income. Most places along with deposits want 3 times your income to qualify. I’ve always had two jobs but still the 3 times made it out of reach. I imagine it’s easier for couples. Plan on having a healthy saved amount for move in though.
Richard Grelle says
If You own a House in Palm Coast, get it on the Market FAST and run, run, run away. We are going to put our home on the Market in a month or so and get out of this Cesspool in the Making called Palm Coast! Only have been here 6 years and realized we had made a Big Mistake, getting out while the getting is good & Market Prices High. City Government of Palm Coast makes to old Mob look like a bunch of Choir Boys.
Wait till the crime is totally out of Control, as it is now the Sheriffs Dept. hides most of the time, just look at the Motorcycle Races up and down Belle Terre & Royal Palm every Fri. & Sat. night till the wee hours of the Morning, but they will pull over some elderly person for exceeding the speed limit by 2 mph once in awhile to make out they are doing something.
Then we have the Palm Coast Kennel, people with on control of their Dogs, barking all hours and for long periods of time.
How about the lack of enforcement of old dilapidated un-registered vehicles in driveways, hidden by a raggedy cover, and lawns unkept, Garbage cans out in open view all week, trash left in driveways – I can go on all night with the Palm Coast Cesspool in the Making ! Soon enough it will be worst than Daytona and riddles with crime & slums – So GET OUT OF THIS PLACE WHILE YOU CAN – I tell as many people as I can to STAY AWAY FROM THE UPCOMING CESSPOOL CALLED PALM COAST !!!!!!