homepage logo

Centre Place development grows steady, on schedule

By Staff | Aug 5, 2009

Over the past several years, the need for the availability of affordable housing on Sanibel has grown at a steady pace.

So, too, has the island’s Community Housing Resources (CHR), which oversees the city’s below market rate housing program.

Early last week, CHR’s latest development – Centre Place – began growing at an incredible rate.

As if by magic, the once barren site located off of Centre Street sprung support columns from out of the soil. Then, on July 28, the first two units of the 14-unit development – both prefabricated three bedroom/two bath duplex modules – were hoisted onto their columns. And finally on Friday, those units were topped by their roofs, which were constructed on-site.

“We’re on time and on schedule,” said a smiling Scott Marcelais, executive director of CHR. “The way that things are going, I think we’ll have the development done before Thanksgiving.”

Around 7 a.m. on July 31, the second units – a group of two bedroom/two bath units – arrived on Sanibel from Nationwide Custom Homes’ factory in southern Georgia. Workers at the site, hired by Kennedy Construction, had both of those units installed in less than three hours.

Centre Place will be the inaugural Florida Green and LEED-certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) project on the island. Although several trees and plants needed to be removed during the clearing of the site, many new trees, bushes and landscape shrubbery will be added to the neighborhood upon completion.

According to Marcelais, the development is a “community investment” which offers people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a home on Sanibel the opportunity for home ownership at a reasonable price. Units within Centre Place will sell from $196,631 to $218,000.

Requirements for participating in the limited-equity ownership program include:

You must be a first-time homebuyer (meaning you have owned no real estate primary residence for the preceding three years).

You must work on the island.

You must have a FICO (credit) score of at least 600.

You must meet the income guidelines, which are a maximum of 120 percent of area median income. The maximum annual incomes are:

– One-person household: $50,280

– Two-person household: $57,480

– Three-person household: $64,680

– Four-person household: $71,880

– Five-person household: $77,640

– Six-person household: $83,400

– Seven-person household: $89,160

– Eight-person household: $94,920

Marcelais explained that participants who purchase a home through the program should expect to pay $50 per month for the ground lease and another $50 per month for the Homeowners Association, which will go towards paying property maintenance and reserves.

Another reason the Centre Place units are affordable is the limited buy-back option, which allows an increase of up to three percent annually, capped at 10 percent.

“We’re co-signers and they can only sell them back to us, so it’s completely foreclosure-proof,” he added.

Thus far, Marcelais reported four applications for home ownership at Centre Place have been approved, and there are 13 “active, viable applications” submitted at present.

“Now that we’ve closed all of our production loans, we were good to go to begin construction,” he said. “It’s really starting to grow now.”

The next set of three bedroom/two bath units are scheduled to arrive on Aug. 17, with an identical shipment to follow on Aug. 24. Another pair of two bedroom/two bath units will arrive on Sept. 4, with an additional set of homes scheduled to complete the project before the end of September.

Residents of Centre Place are hoping to be able to move into their new homes by mid-November.

For additional information about CHR and the limited equity ownership program, call Patti Bohm or Scott Marcelais at 472-1189 or visit their office inside the Sanibel Senior Center, located at 2401 Library Way.