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Affordable workforce housing approved in St. Johns County

Corner Lot.jpg
Corner Lot
An illustration shows the townhomes planned at Spanish Forest.

A new 106-home development in St. Johns County will include much-needed affordable housing for professionals like teachers and first responders.

County Commissioners this week approved a development of townhomes and single-family homes planned by Corner Lot, a residential development firm based in Jacksonville.

The project, tentatively called Spanish Forest, is intended in part to address the lack of "workforce housing" in the county, one of the fastest growing counties in the nation.

Many middle-income families are being priced out of the county's red-hot real estate market. The median price of a single-family home in St. Johns County rose to $558,700 in March, according to the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors. On average, homes became 13.4% less affordable last month for a family with a median income, the association said.

“The need for workforce housing in St. Augustine and St. Johns County is well documented, and Spanish Forest gave us the opportunity to meet that demand while also building a community people will be proud to call home” Corner Lot CEO Andy Allen said in a news release.

Corner Lot's project will include at least 43 townhomes that can sold for a maximum of $240,000, under county guidelines. The development is planned west of Duval Street and south of West Sixth Street in the community of West Augustine. The project is scheduled to break ground in fall 2022 and be complete in winter 2023.

Spanish Forest will include about 32 acres, park-like amenities, trails and open space, Corner Lot said. The development is designed to be compatible with surrounding neighborhoods, schools and the Solomon Calhoun Recreation Center.

Corner Lot said it is working with representatives from the community to determine a final development name that represents the history and culture of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Randy comes to Jacksonville from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where, as metro editor, he led investigative coverage of the Parkland school shooting that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for public service. He has spent more than 40 years in reporting and editing positions in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Florida. You can reach Randy at rroguski@wjct.org or on Twitter, @rroguski.