FORT WALTON BEACH — Community leaders broke ground Tuesday on SoundSide Apartments on Carson Drive.
More than 50 residents and Fort Walton Beach officials gathered at the site to celebrate the new $22 million affordable housing project being developed by the Fort Walton Beach Housing Authority.
“This has been a long time in the making,” said Fred Thomas, chairman of the Housing Authority’s board. “I think it is going to have a positive impact on the community. … I think it’s going to be an anchor in the community.”
Thomas praised Gail Sansbury, executive director of the Housing Authority, and former Housing Authority Commissioner Lee Bobo for envisioning an affordable housing complex eight years ago.
“It was those two who put the whole plan together,” he said. “It’s a wonderful accomplishment.”
The 13-acre site is where the old Germany Terrace public housing project once stood.
Mayor Mike Anderson, who attended the ceremony, said the groundbreaking marks “a great day for the city of Fort Walton Beach.”
“The affordable housing issue has been one of the top priorities for the city,” he said.
He said the Housing Authority should be commended for its willingness to team up with the city and other organizations to complete the project.
“The partnerships that we’ve created … is really making it more meaningful,” Anderson added.
City Councilwoman Joyce Gossom and Councilmen Trey Goodwin, Dick Rynearson and Bobby Griggs also attended.
Fort Walton Beach has contributed a little less than $500,000 in Community Redevelopment Agency funds to the project.
The 200-unit complex will feature one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments, a pool, a fitness center and a wireless Internet cafe. The apartments will feature 9-foot ceilings, gourmet kitchens, washer and dryers, and screened porches.
Thomas said the project will breathe new life into the Carson Street area.
“It’s a relief,” he said. “This is an older community. The (apartments) will be market rate, which is affordable, and it’s right here in the heart of the city.”
Multicon, the general contractor, will start construction in May.
“We’ll start seeing concrete poured out here in about two to three weeks. Then we’ll see framing in five to seven weeks,” said project manager James Bryant, a vice president at Multicon.
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Kari C. Barlow at 850-315-4438 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @KariBnwfdn.
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