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Miami Herald - May 3, 2007

Affordable-housing plans win backing


Hoping to stall the gentrification of Coconut Grove, the Village West Homeowners and Tenants Association voted Monday to back two proposed low-income housing developments. Members approved of the Coconut Grove Apartments, which would be built on the corner of Grand Avenue and Douglas Road by Grovites United to Survive -- a for-profit group of local investors.

 Henry Givens, president of GUTS, said the five-story, mixed-use development -- proposed for the site of the old Tiki Club -- will include about 60 apartments for seniors.

''We're the only ones in position to develop now,'' he said.

GUTS owns the property and is days away from signing a contract with a developer, Givens said.

The association also backed a proposal by the Coconut Grove Collaborative to turn the county-owned site of the Frankie S. Rolle Center, 3750 S. Dixie Hwy. into affordable housing.

The Collaborative's plan for a redeveloped Frankie S. Rolle Center -- to be called Bimini Place -- includes a 10-story residential tower, 28 three-story townhomes and a commons area with community service functions.

The tower would hold 100 rental units with rents of $300 to $600 a unit, said Jihad Rashid, president of the group.

The low prices hinge on the approval of government subsidies and tax credits, Rashid said. Much of the funding for the development has been secured through a partnership with Bank of America and Pinnacle Housing, he said.

The Village Commons would include space for human service offices and possibly community-owned franchises, Rashid said