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Sun Sentinel - 3/11/05

Delray affordable housing agency to acquire duplexes

By Mireidy Fernandez

Delray Beach · The city's affordable housing plan picked up steam Thursday when a city agency approved the purchase of three duplexes on the southwest side to provide land designated for reasonably priced townhouses.

The Community Redevelopment Agency agreed to purchase the units in the 100 block of Southwest 14th Avenue -- considered one of the city's most blighted areas -- for $480,000 from Carolyn and Joe Gholston.

The duplexes' appraised value was $136,000 each, but the CRA agreed to buy them for $160,000 apiece, a 17 percent premium, because that was the asking price.

The Gholstons, who have owned the rental units for years, are willing sellers, said Michael Simon, the CRA's development manager.

"We've been working with them for a couple of years on this, and they decided to sell the property," Simon said. "This is one of the more blighted and decaying housing areas."

Carolyn Gholston declined comment when reached after Thursday's meeting.

Chuck Ridley, a CRA board member, said he was content with the agency's focus on trying to enhance the overall appearance of neighborhoods in Delray Beach.

"It looks like we have Southwest 14th Avenue well covered," said Ridley, who now hopes surrounding property owners will make improvements to their homes.

Under the CRA's Southwest Area Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan, the 100 block of Southwest 14th Avenue has been earmarked as the site of future townhouses that would range from 1,500 to 1,700 square feet, Simon said.

The redevelopment effort calls for acquisition of land throughout city neighborhoods to assemble properties and make improvements to residential and commercial areas. The redevelopment also entails neighborhood street beautification projects, homeownership programs and ways to improve traffic flow.

The planned townhouses would fall under the city's workforce/affordable housing initiative, which aims to keep working professionals in Delray Beach.

Francisco Perez, a local architect, will work on potential housing designs for the newly acquired properties, Simon said.

Mireidy Fernandez can be reached at or 561-243-6690.