Last two Model Block homes yet to be sold

The kitchen inside the house at 725 NW Seventh Terrace in Gainesville. The house is one of many in the Community Redevelopment Agency's Model Block Program.

LEE FERINDEN/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 2:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 2:14 p.m.

The city of Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency's Model Block Program in the historic Northwest Fifth Avenue neighborhood is nearing a successful completion with the possible sale of the last two homes built as part of the CRA's effort to revitalize housing in the area.

Malcolm Kiner, a CRA project manager, said the Model Block Program, started in 2003, is an attempt to create conditions to help ensure the historic legacy of the neighborhood is celebrated, strengthen pride in the community and increase private investment in properties in the neighborhood by "eliminating slum and blight" conditions.

Once the homes at 321 NW Seventh Terrace ($149,000) and 724 NW Fourth Ave. ($139,000) have been sold, the CRA will have built and sold a total to 10 new homes in the Fifth Avenue area and the neighboring Pleasant Street neighborhood. Kiner said potential buyers for the remaining two homes are in "preliminary contract" negotiations that look promising.

"But, technically, they have not been sold yet," Kiner said.

Also, to promote long-term home ownership, the CRA affords Model Block Program home buyers the opportunity to opt into a $25,000 "forgivable mortgage" that stipulates $25,000 will be deducted from the mortgage if the buyer lives in the home for at least 10 years, and a $12,500 deduction if the buyer lives in the home for at least five years.

Robert Pringle, an electrical engineering student at the University of Florida, purchased a Model Block home at 403 NW Eighth St. near the remaining two Model Block homes earlier this year.

"We really like the location — that was the main draw for us," said Pringle, adding that he lives in the home with his wife, Danielle, and a roommate. "We think it is a great investment and plan on living here for a while. When you walk around the neighborhood and you see the new homes, you kind of get a feel that things are happening here to make property values go up."

The last two homes, both three-bedroom/two-bathroom homes, are made of Hardie board siding, a popular long-lasting, low-maintainence material liked by many for its appearance, fire and storm resistance and other features. The homes have cement-stained floors and are furnished with stainless steel appliances, upgraded cabinets with microwaves above the stoves and upgraded counter tops.

The master bedrooms have two closets, and there are two sinks in the master bathrooms.

The homes also have privacy fences around their backyards, which both have patio areas and sustainability features, such as brown 25-gallon rain barrels placed underneath rain gutters on the roof. The water in the barrels can be used to irrigate the xeriscape landscaping, which is sustainable landscaping designed to limit mowing and watering.

"Folks really like these homes because of all the features that are added for the price, as well as their proximity to being in the center of the city, close to UF, downtown and other amenities like Innovation Square," Kiner said.

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