How construction is providing homes for a new demographic of young professionals
Albert Milo Principal & Senior Vice President – Related Urban Development Group
What have been the main achievements of the Liberty Square project?
By far, our biggest achievement is creating a redevelopment plan that fulfills the needs and desires of those that will ultimately call Liberty Square home. From the onset, we faced significant anxiety, fear of gentrification and displacement. We’ve taken those concerns and, along with the community, created a phased redevelopment plan that completely eliminates any displacement and greatly improves the lives of all residents. With Liberty Square, we have an amazing opportunity to not only redevelop 58 acres within Miami’s urban core, but to also create a catalyst for broader redevelopment throughout the area and the city as a whole. There are very few times in your career when you’re able to make such a drastic difference, where you can take something that is in a pretty desperate state as well as creating something that is truly magnificent.
What are the main benefits and challenges regarding workforce housing?
The main challenge of workforce housing is the significant number of young professionals with a salary that is above the cutoff point to qualify for affordable housing but not enough that they can afford to live downtown. So, we have a whole generation of Miamians stuck in limbo and unable to find a home that they can afford. In order to achieve the goal of creating middle income workforce housing, we have been advocating for policies and incentives that the local government can put in place to help us and other developers be able to build the type of housing Miami so desperately needs. We believe it is not only important to focus on areas like Downtown and Brickell, but also bring this approach to areas around the in desperate need of mixed-income housing solutions.
What public policies can be pursued to help build up Miami-Dade’s affordable residential real estate market?
The future of Miami-Dade’s residential market is mixed-income housing. It will require some changes at the local level, which is why we have been advocating specific initiatives such as the deferment of impact fees for workforce housing units, a measure that the City of Miami agreed to implement. Another measure that has been adopted are ordinances that allow for increased densities for mixed-income developments, specifically focused on low-income units. This means that developers can obtain additional density if they take a portion of their workforce and affordable housing projects and make units for extremely low-income residents.