After years of delay and financial missteps, South Waterfront's first affordable housing project finally seems to be getting off the ground. City Council this morning approved a deal to contract housing nonprofit REACH to develop Block 49, a six-story building that will (fingers crossed) create 209 units of affordable housing in the area that until now has been home mostly to auctioned off condos and doggie daycares.

The total development cost for the project is $50.37 million, with the Portland Development Commission kicking in $23 million worth of urban renewal money. The six stories reserve 42 units for veterans who make 30 percent less than median family income (so making about $15,000) and its developers note that it's a convenient tram-ride away from the VA hospital. An estimated 23 percent of the nation's homeless people are veterans.

When the city first turned South Waterfront into an urban renewal area, the planning bureau pitched it as becoming a "diverse, inclusive riverfront neighborhood" that would include 700 units of affordable housing. Eleven years later, one major affordable housing project is still a gravel lot and now Block 49 is set to break ground this spring and be open by the fall.

Funding breakdown and another photo of the project below the cut!


The city's info page about the project is here.