WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — West Palm Beach commissioners on Monday night gave the green light to an innovative affordable housing project — units made from steel shipping containers.
The 48-unit development from the Palm Beach County Housing Authority may only put a small dent in the need for this type of housing.
But it's a construction method that may set the tone for future projects of its kind.
The housing complex will be built at the site of the former headquarters of the Palm Beach County Housing Authority on 45th Street near the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
The authority expects to get a demolition permit and begin knocking down the building sometime in December.
"This is going to be a pilot program," Tammy McDonald, who is chief development officer of the Palm Beach County Housing Authority, which is spearheading the project, said.
She told commissioners that the development will include three apartment buildings with 48 one- and two-bedroom units made from steel shipping containers in a construction project that is cost-effective and unique.
"But you won't be able to know they are shipping containers," she said. "They will be first of all washed and sanitized and all those things. Then from the factory windows and doors will be cut in."
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a zoning change for the site, with members saying it won't have a major effect on traffic but will help stimulate growth in the area,
The vote was the last hurdle for the complex to be named the Legacy at 45th Street.
Ten units will be reserved for people with AIDS and most of the others will be for people who fall into the economic category that McDonald called "under-served."
"This project, this community, will serve the 'missing middle' in Palm Beach County," she said.
She said the apartments are for those who make between $45,000 and $72,000 a year, but too much for low-incoming housing and not enough to afford most rents in the Palm Beach County market.
"That would include your teachers, your service workers, cafeteria workers, public housing workers, county workers, city workers and the like," she said.
McDonald said those interested in living in the new complex will be able to start applying sometime in July, and those accepted will be able to start moving in next fall.