Eastside addition

Gainesville's newest affordable housing complex opens

Published: Saturday, January 17, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 17, 2004 at 1:06 a.m.
Local, state and federal officials, housing leaders, investors and residents at Eastgate Apartments in east Gainesville gathered Friday to celebrate the opening of the area's new affordable housing complex.
Located at 4260 SE 10th Place, near Eastside High School, Eastgate is a $10.9 million, 140-unit development built on 13 acres to help accommodate the need for affordable housing in east Gainesville.
A major portion of the funding for the building project came from Fannie Mae in the form of a $6.4 million tax credit. The development of the housing complex was built through a public/private partnership that included, in addition to Fannie Mae, Creative Choice Homes - developer and owner of Eastgate - as well as Alachua County, the Florida Housing Finance Corp., MMA Financial, Bank of America and Lend Lease Mortgage.
"Anything that improves families' opportunities is important to Fannie Mae," said Pamela Duncan, the director of Fannie Mae's North Florida Partnership Office.
Jack Weir, senior vice president of Creative Choice Homes, called it a new start for 140 households and families.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown took the opportunity to urge the group to support earned income tax credits, which may reduce the amount of income taxes owed for eligible persons and provide refunds for many of the families living in Eastgate.
"It gives credit to those who really need the break," Brown said.
For one resident of Eastgate, the complex is more than a dream come true.
Vanessa Anthony, a former resident of Kennedy Homes and president of the tenant's association there, welcomed her new place after a fire and other problems forced her and the other Kennedy tenants to move into a hotel.
"This is more than a blessing for me and my family to be here," Anthony told the group.
While Anthony is excited about her new home, she is also determined not to let Eastgate suffer the same fate as Kennedy Homes by slipping into disrepair.
"This community is going to be wonderful, and I refuse to allow it to become dilapidated," Anthony said. "I want to let them know that we can appreciate something."
Alachua County Commissioner Rodney Long said that more development is still needed in the area.
He called for a new upscale neighborhood to be built in order to create a mixed tax base for the area and attract new neighborhood schools.
"Affordable housing is what you can afford to pay for, and we can afford it," Long said.
Of the 140 units available in Eastgate, 137 already have been rented.
The complex comprises 42 one-bedroom units, 56 two-bedroom units and 42 three-bedroom units that range in price from $215 to $658.
The complex also offers such amenities as a swimming pool, volleyball court, fitness center, computer lab and playground.

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