CREI Holdings Secures $67 Million In Construction Financing For ‘ Li’l Abner III’ Affordable Housing Project In Sweetwater, FL

Li'l Abner III. Credit: CREI Holdings.

CREI Holdings has secured a $67 million construction loan from Centennial Bank to build an affordable workforce housing mid-rise building at 455 Northwest 114th Avenue in the City of Sweetwater, Miami-Dade County. Construction of Li’l Abner III is set to begin in the second quarter of 2024 and be completed in the second quarter of 2026. Prospective tenants can now register for future leasing opportunities.

Designed by Coral Gables-based Burgos Lanza Architects and Planners, the 8-story Li’l Abner III will have 328 one- and two-bedroom apartments. Of these, 40 percent will be designated for households with an income at 80 percent of the area median income. The remaining 60 percent will cater to households with an income of 120 percent. Nearly 40 percent of the project will be reserved for individuals aged 55 and older, meeting the criteria for Senior Housing designation for Li’l Abner III.

“We are grateful to Centennial Bank for their belief in us and, more importantly, for their role in addressing the need for workforce and affordable housing in Miami-Dade,” said Raul Rodriguez, Managing Member of CREI Holdings. “It’s a collaborative effort to create apartments accessible to those on fixed incomes and working families who struggle to afford quality housing in our region. I’m proud of our team for leading the way, and we’re fortunate to have the financial support of Miami-Dade County to deliver the much-needed housing for their constituents.”

Each apartment will offer spacious living areas, walk-in closets, central cooling and heating systems, and in-unit washers and dryers. Additionally, the development will feature amenities such as a fitness center, residents’ lounge, a central courtyard with green spaces and storage facilities. Li’l Abner III, with an estimated construction cost of $83 million, will stand next door to its sister buildings, Li’l Abner I and II.

“We’re thrilled to provide the funding necessary for Raul’s vision for affordable, workforce, and senior housing to come to fruition in Sweetwater, led by CREI Holdings,” said J.C. de Ona, Southeast Florida Division President at Centennial Bank. “Centennial Bank is committed to supporting our local communities, forging strategic partnerships with governmental bodies and developers alike to tackle the critical issues of housing scarcity and affordability.”

Yuleisy Montalvo, Senior Commercial Loan Officer at Centennial Bank, orchestrated the transaction. Attorney Manny Diner represented CREI, and Attorney Richard Barbara represented Centennial Bank. The construction loan comes nearly three months after CREI obtained a $41 million loan from Lumens for the refinancing of Li’l Abner II, completed in April 2023. That transaction closed on December 29, 2023.

Li’l Abner II consists of 244 one- and two-bedroom units dedicated to affordable and workforce housing. Among these, 40 percent cater to low-income seniors, while the remainder is allocated to residents earning up to 120 percent of the area’s median income. The building is close to full occupancy. In 2013, CREI completed Li’l Abner I, providing 87 apartments catering to low-income seniors. Currently, the building has a waiting list of over 1,000 seniors.

Renters and frontline workers are the hardest hit by Miami-Dade County’s shortage of affordable housing options, according to a new analysis of Census and employment data from the University of Florida’s Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. Most Miami-Dade households with incomes below $75,000 struggle with housing costs. According to the UF data, half of all households in the county are “cost-burdened,” meaning these individuals pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing. This includes three-quarters of households with incomes below $75,000 per year.

In Miami-Dade, renters with modest incomes are the hardest hit. 90 percent of renters with incomes below $50,000 are cost-burdened. The county has a gap of 90,181 affordable and available units for renter households with incomes below 80 percent of the area median income. According to the UF report, this gap will grow to nearly 116,000 units by 2030 unless affordable units are added.

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1 Comment on "CREI Holdings Secures $67 Million In Construction Financing For ‘ Li’l Abner III’ Affordable Housing Project In Sweetwater, FL"

  1. Adriana Galainena | April 20, 2024 at 4:15 pm | Reply

    Please advise about a wait list for Senior Citizens, I understand it may take a long time, willing to wait.

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