ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A new 192-unit workforce housing project was approved Monday by St. Johns County commissioners.
It comes as the cost of living has skyrocketed in the fast-growing county.
Officials involved said more affordable housing is needed mainly because the median home price in the county is over $550,000, and rents have increased more than 50% in the last 10 years as supply struggles to keep up with demand.
The unanimously-approved project will be located in the Twin Creeks Development between Interstate 95 and U.S. 1., just off Old County Road 210.
The Twin Creeks Apartments will have a pool a clubhouse and the rents will be capped based on income.
“We want to make sure that we’re helping nurses, teachers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters. I think that’s what I’ve heard from every member of this board,” St. Johns County Commissioner Christian Whitehurst said.
Under the agreement, the rents charged must be affordable to people earning between 80% and 120% of the St. Johns County Area Median Income (AMI). Right now, 80% of the median income is about $47,000 for one person and about $67,000 for a family of four. At 120%, that would be over $100,000 for a family of four because the AMI is currently $86,500.
The project is expected to break ground in early 2023 and be open in 2024.
Commissioner Whitehurst said workers in the middle class are finding it harder and harder to live in St. Johns County, where home property values have spiked almost 18% just in the last year.
Earlier this year, the commission approved a similar housing project in the West Augustine neighborhood as the commission continues to add more affordable housing in one of the richest counties in the state.
That project will include at least 43 townhomes that can be sold for no more than $240,000.
Also part of the discussion today was the County Road 210 corridor between I-95 and the Beachwalk community. The county said it is pushing forward with lane-widening in that area to deal with increased traffic and construction could start early next year. The commission also agreed to further discuss County Road 210 projects at a commission meeting in the near future.