Since the pandemic began in 2020, affordable housing has been increasingly hard to find.
In Ocala, a private entity worked together with a non-profit organization owned by a former NBA star to build a new apartment complex for senior citizens at affordable prices.
The Oak Valley Senior Apartments held its grand opening on Thursday.
The senior apartment complex is a joint venture between Housing Trust Group and non-profit AM Affordable Housing Inc., an organization founded by former Miami Heat champion and NBA Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning.
Oak Valley is the first property developed by HTG in Ocala.
Speaking at the ceremony, HTG CEO Matthew Rieger said the private market and the public sector can do great things when working alongside one another.
“It took the hard work of many people over many years to bring this community out of the ground, and I believe it is a testament to the extraordinary things that are possible when the public sector and the private market work together,” Rieger said. ” Affordable communities like Oak Valley therefore, become a critical lifeline for these seniors, allowing them to remain close to their loved ones, support systems, healthcare providers and the community they’ve always known.
The apartments contain one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.
Rent in the apartment complex ranges from around $400 to $750 for residents making 40% to 60% of the median income in Ocala.
According to real estate platform Zumper.com, the median rent for one bedroom apartments in the city is $1,050, a 21% rise compared to last year.
Also at the grand opening of Oak Valley was Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, who expressed his thanks for the completion of the project.
“This is what’s needed. We have a year waiting list and it will probably grow when people know about it. This is exactly what Ocala needed,” Guinn said.
Perhaps the most thankful people for Oak Valley are its residents.
Many of those living in the apartment complex are ecstatic with the building.
One of those residents is Nelson Satones.
Satones showed his unit to the media at the grand opening of Oak Valley.
He found the building online and was able to visit before the building finished construction.
Satones and his dog Milo are enjoying the building since moving in back in April.
“I love it. Especially the residents who live here. They’re good neighbors,” Satones said.
Residents at the building have a wide array of amenities including a bocce ball court, a pickle ball court, a pool, and a walking trail among others.