Palm Beach County’s Department of Housing and Economic Sustainability recently awarded $532,000 to Art Lofts of West Village , an eight townhome development under construction in Lake Worth.
It will make four of the eight homes more affordable to residents.
“A lot of the artists are already self employed, so this is really good,” said Michael Pecar, director of real estate for Neighborhood Renaissance, an economic development agency behind the project that’s being built on the northeast corner of Lucerne Avenue and North F Street. “This is a step toward chipping away at the county’s housing affordability problems.”
Construction started in July in the live-work art community and should be complete by February, Pecar said.
Project cost is $3.2 million. It’s partially funded by the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency through a grant from the National Stabilization Program.
The 2,000-square-foot units feature a ground floor studio space and an upstairs living space. Four of the homes sell for $245,000, while the other four with the loan will now vary from $120,000 to $150,000, depending on the resident’s income, Pecar said.
The Art Lofts joins The Urban Lofts, 12 live-work lofts that were built across the street for $3.5 million four years ago.
The 21,000-square-foot Art Lofts site, which once housed a Palm Beach County Health Department building, will also include a 2,000-square-foot commercial space that can fit up to three businesses.
The owners are still looking for tenants, Pecar said.
As for the lofts, there are requirements for purchase.
For starters, you must be someone who makes a living off the arts — a painter, an orchestra conductor, a sculpture. The criteria is broad, so just show a body of work that demonstrates you’re a working artist.
That work will be reviewed by a selection committee.
There are also income requirements.
According to Pecar, one person can’t earn more than $60,480 annually. For a two-person household, that figure is $69,120 and for three persons its $77,760.
Pecar said Neighborhood Renaissance has received close to 40 applications. Four are under contract, he said. The four homes with the loan are still up for sale, he added.
There had been some concern the home prices were a little steep, but Christian Dabros, CRA deputy director told The Palm Beach Post in June the houses were at market value.
“There are similar townhomes in the area going for more than $300,000, ” he said. “This area is less because it’s west of Dixie Highway.”