BY WILLIE HOWARD | THE PALM BEACH POST | MARCH 9, 2012
LAKE WORTH - — City officials broke ground Friday on a dozen townhomes that are expected to create live-and-work space for artists on two sites at Lucerne Avenue and F Street.
The Urban Arts Lofts project will cost up to $3.5 million and is being paid for with part of a $23.2 million federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant that the city's Community Redevelopment Agency and its partners are using to buy, renovate and rebuild foreclosed homes.
The artist townhomes will be two-bedroom, two-bath units with living quarters upstairs and studio space downstairs. They are expected to sell for $100,000 to $120,000, though the actual sales prices will not be determined until after the townhomes are completed and appraised.
Two of the buildings will be "post modern" in style. A third is considered modern, with a flat roof and a modular look. A fourth will be contemporary Florida in style, with clapboard sides, trellises over the balconies and windows accented with shutters.
Building live/work space for artists is part of the CRA's plan to focus on art and artists as a redevelopment strategy.
"The goal to use the arts as a tool for redevelopment is fully underway," Mayor Pam Triolo said. "I'm thrilled that these homes will be filled with creative types of every genre."
Triolo said the Arts Loft project should help bridge the east and west sides of the city.
Robert Elliott, president of the Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association, said the townhomes will be welcome additions to the neighborhood.
"It takes an empty lot and becomes something we can be proud of," Elliott said. "And it will end up increasing the tax base for the city."
Canatelli Builders of Pompano Beach, one of the federal grant consortium partners, will build the townhomes. Utility work is expected to begin in April. Construction of the buildings is expected to begin in June.
Under terms of the federal grant, the Arts Lofts must be completed by Feb. 11 .
Anyone interested in buying one of the townhomes or other Lake Worth homes built through the federal grant program can learn about eligibility requirements and download a preliminary application form at www.lakeworthnsp.org.