FORT MYERS — A workforce housing developer is building 336 apartments in Fort Myers.
New York-based Redburn Development Services will build the complex of, what it calls, “moderately-priced” apartments at 2010 Hanson St. The total project, the first for Redburn in Florida, is expected to cost $71.7 million.
Bloom Fort Myers, as the complex will be called, will include studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments and the complex will come with a pool, game room, business and co-working space. Redburn, in a statement announcing the project, says units “will be priced to accommodate everyday workers in the area, a segment that often gets priced out of more luxury products.”
Groundbreaking is expected to happen in late May with the first phase of the project completed by late next year.
Redburn says in the past five years it has developed more than 1 million square feet of workforce housing in upstate New York. The company’s mission statement, posted on its website, says it believes that “in the face of fluctuating wages and rising costs, everyone should be able to afford safe and vibrant living accommodations.”
Thomas Rossi, the company’s principal, says in a statement announcing the development that “housing must be approachable for all segments of the population.”
“The middle is missing and often gets overlooked but is remarkably vital to the local economy.”
Investors GSI Equities and Divinity Development Partners are also involved in the project.
The apartments come at a time when the need for affordable housing options is becoming critical for Fort Myers. According to Zillow, the average price of a home in Fort Myers has jumped 35.8% from last year to $324,988. And according to Zumper.com, an online property rental website, rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is up 51% to $1,636.
The data reinforces the anecdotal narrative from throughout the region that a scarcity of inventory combined with thousands moving to the Gulf Coast daily is driving prices through the roof and putting a major burden on infrastructure. Feeling the brunt of this are middle- and lower-income earners who are finding themselves priced out of neighborhoods they often lived in for years.
The solution, industry and government experts say, is to bring on more projects to ease the demand. But that takes time, something those with an immediate need for housing often don’t have.
There is also is a concern that at a time when million-dollar luxury condos are sprouting up across the Gulf Coast, the need for affordable options is not being addressed.
“As our population grows and evolves, workforce housing is vital to support the folks who keep our city vibrant,” Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson says in the statement announcing the Redburn project. “The units promise to be beautiful, functional and attainable, a genuine solution to the housing demands of our city.”