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Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
Plant City Courier

Affordable housing project in Plant City growing with help of bank

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PLANT CITY Thanks to a bank’s $100,000 donation, construction is beginning on six townhomes in an affordable housing community near Plant City High School.

Florida Home Partnership held a ceremonial groundbreaking last week at Alexander Woods after receiving a check from Steve Schultz, area president of community banking for Wells Fargo. A building with the six new townhomes should be completed in about five months.

“Having partners like Wells Fargo helps us meet our goal of building and creating affordable housing,” partnership spokesman Joey Henderson said.

The $100,000 from Wells Fargo will pay for about one-sixth of the cost of the new building at Alexander Woods, partnership Executive Director Earl Pfeiffer said.

Schultz said Wells Fargo awarded a total of $6 million to nonprofits nationwide that are involved in developing affordable housing. The Florida Home Partnership was one of nine in the state to receive $100,000, he said.

“The economy is tough and we want to do anything we can to change that,” he said.

Bank employees also donate hundreds of hours to help affordable housing projects, Schultz added.

Florida Home Partnership, with the help of Hillsborough County, Plant City and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, took over Alexander Woods more than a year ago, after the private developer abandoned the project.

Two- and three-bedroom townhomes are available, with prices from $89,500 to $109,500.

Ten of the 36 available units are occupied, and there are 24 contracts in the works, Henderson said.

The Florida Home Partnership has built more than 550 homes in six communities. It offers housing assistance to buyers of modest means by working with agencies that help with down payments and closing costs.

The partnership expects Alexander Woods to have a total of 80 townhomes by the time the $8 million to $10 million project is built out in 2 1/2 to 3 years.

“I’ve been blessed to be a part of it,” partnership board president Don Shea said during the check-passing ceremony.

Rosemary S. Gadsden, HUD supervisory housing program specialist, praised the partnership for its work on projects such as Alexander Woods. She said her agency depends on such help to aid in affordable housing efforts.

“It could not be done without you,” Gadsden said.

Twitter: @dnicholsonTrib

dnicholson@tampatrib.com

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