WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Diocese of Southeast Florida has agreed to sell Saint Andrew's Residence, where about 150 seniors were displaced for months after an electrical malfunction last June, along with nearby Saint James Residence to Related Affordable, a subsidiary of Related Companies, a real estate company.
During a virtual meeting Monday with residents, the board president and Related Affordable announced that the two buildings in downtown West Palm Beach are under contract to be purchased by Related Affordable, and a closing is expected in approximately 6-8 months after all necessary U.S. Housing and Urban Development and other agency approvals are obtained, according to Aimee Adler Cooke, whose firm does public relations on behalf of the Diocese.
Saint Andrews Residence of the Diocese of Southeast Florida Inc., a nonprofit corporation created by the Diocese, rents the two high-rise buildings under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 program for subsidized housing for people over age 62.
HUD residents usually pay 30 percent of their gross income for rent.
Saint Andrews, which is located on 208 Fern St., contains 182 bedroom units and Saint James, on 400 South Olives,has 148. Both places have views of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Palm Beach skyline
Cooke said the board began its search for a qualified buyer last fall.
"Preserving and extending the affordable designations of these two buildings for seniors for many years to come is one of the current owner’s core missions and was the most important factor in searching for a qualified buyer," Cooke wrote to WPTV in an email. "They selected Related Affordable because it was founded as an affordable housing developer nearly 50 years ago and is the largest preservationist of affordable housing in the country. Related Affordable is committed to extending the affordable designations at these two buildings and will utilize their expertise in working with the federal government and HUD to accomplish that goal."
She noted HUD designation for Saint Andrews will need to be renewed before October.
Related Affordable’s preservation plan for Saint Andrew’s includes "seeking an additional level of affordability for all of Saint Andrews’ units, providing residents with rent security for the first-time, and adding a rental subsidy that will protect residents from future rent increases."
For both buildings, they will seek an affordability extension for 20 years, the maximum extension allowed by HUD.
In June, the seniors were evacuated from their residences because of the electrical malfunction. The management company paid for their extended stays at a motel.
In March, seniors had to be evacuated around 3:30 a.m. when officials at the scene said a malfunction in the electrical room caused smoke to fill parts of the building.
In October 2019, residents were without air conditioning.