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First ‘critical project’ designation sought from Puerto Rico fiscal board

By on May 29, 2018

SAN JUAN – Although not a large source of employment, Puerto Rico’s congressionally appointed revitalization coordinator has asked the island’s Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) to designate Viewpoint at Roosevelt, a transit-oriented multifamily rental housing project within Hato Rey’s financial district, as a “critical project.”

It is the first recommended for the board’s approval by Revitalization Coordinator Noel Zamot.

“Post Hurricane Maria, the public housing situation in Puerto Rico continues to be challenging. Several hundred thousand units have been damaged, and demand for public housing continues to be very high. This project will help alleviate part of this need, by developing low cost housing close to urban centers and public transportation,” reads the report dated May 1.

The development on Alhambra Steet and the corner of Sevilla Street has initial construction permits, meets all land-use criteria “and is practically shovel ready,” the report adds.

Although the project depends heavily on federal grants and loans, it does not rely on Puerto Rico tax incentives, which means it has little tax cost for the commonwealth. The total cost is estimated at $24.2 million. It was awarded $26.2 million in Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and $881,044 in Home Funds.

“The project is not a large source of employment (although it will create dozens of jobs) but is considered critical due to the impact on public housing,” the report stresses.

The sponsor of the project is San Juan-based Viewpoint at the Park LLC.

The development consists of a 13-story building with 130 apartments, each with two bedrooms and one bathroom. It will have 143 parking spots for residents, of which nine for the handicapped. All units will be available for low-income families that meet the LIHTC’s rent and income requirements. The project will have a gross construction area of 182,000 square feet.

The goal of the project, which will be within an area that is mixed with businesses and homes, is mainly to reinforce the ridership of the Tren Urbano, or Urban Train. The community will be within 195 meters, or 640 feet,  from the train’s Roosevelt Street Station as well as feeder bus lines.

It would also help promote the benefits of Transit Oriented Development and provide funding to the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (PRHTA), according to the report.

“The PRHTA expects to receive land disposition proceeds which reflect over time the highest and best transit-oriented use of each joint development parcel subject to the goals outlined…and to any applicable federal requirement,” the report reads.

See the report here.

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