BREAKING NEWS: KEY WEST NONPROFIT WITHDRAWS WATER-PRECIOUS APARTMENT PROPOSAL
The red circle on the Truman Waterfront Park diagram above shows the 3.2 acres that are earmarked for affordable housing. CITY OF KEY WEST / Contributed
A Key West nonprofit that proposed a 100% affordable housing development on the Truman Waterfront has withdrawn its proposal.
AH Monroe had tabled an unsolicited proposal to build 80-100 affordable housing units on the city’s waterfront property, and a majority of city commissioners had committed to sponsoring a resolution in support of the proposal.
Then the Bahamian Village Rehabilitation Advisory Committee, which was set up to advise the Commission on projects and concerns in the Bahamian Village, rejected the proposal because it was not selected through a bidding process.
While AH Monroe directors did not specifically cite the Bahama Village Committee’s concerns about his withdrawal, City Commissioner Sam Kaufman told Keys Weekly that it likely contributed to it.
“The board of directors of AH of Monroe County met today and voted to withdraw our proposal to consider developing the 3-acre property in Bahama Village until the city’s charter is amended to include 50-year leases enable, “wrote Scott Pridgen, executive director of AH Monroe City Commissioners, in an email on Friday, March 19. “On behalf of the Board of Directors and myself, we thank you for the opportunity and will continue to express our interest in the 3.2 hectare project.”
In response, Kaufman, the original sponsor of the resolution approving AH Monroe’s proposal, issued a statement stating: “Commissioner Kaufman thanks AH of Monroe County, Inc. for submitting their proposal and accepts the decision of their board of directors, Withdraw their offer in light of recent events.
“The city council has announced that affordable housing development may be delayed by years as key grant deadlines are missed. It is also highly dubious that the city will receive the same quality proposal from another developer that offers 100% affordable housing, highlights lower income categories, and provides an affordable home ownership provision from a local nonprofit that is sensitive to the country’s history Bahama Village community. This is a huge disappointment to our working residents and families, especially those who are interested in and love the Bahama Village. “
In his email response to Pridgen and the AH Monroe Board, Kaufman wrote, “I would like to thank AH of Monroe, Inc for stepping up after being asked by the city to come up with a proposal to develop affordable housing on the 3.2 acre Truman Waterfront property. Thank you because your organization took this opportunity and made a proposal that the city did not see during my tenure as Commissioner. I also thank you for coming to terms with bizarre and unjustified criticism. As chairman of another non-profit organization (FKOC) for the past two decades, I fully understand and respect your position. As the city missed a wonderful opportunity to work on this project with your exceptional agency, I look forward to working with you on other projects that will benefit our community. “
The city commission was due to consider the apartment proposal at its March 16 meeting, which was canceled because it was not publicly noted. This meeting has been postponed to March 31st, when the withdrawal of the proposal is expected to be discussed.