Workforce Housing initiative in Westlake will bring more homes within financial reach of workers

City of Westlake and Minto Communities develop a new innovative framework for workforce housing 

CITY OF WESTLAKE, FLA. – (October 20, 2017) – The dream of home ownership will be closer for many Palm Beach County families under a new program proposed by Minto Communities and the City of Westlake. 

Minto Communities, the developer of the 3,800-acre community named Westlake, has created a workforce housing framework with the City of Westlake with teachers, firefighters, police officers and service workers in mind.  

Under the proposal, the City of Westlake will provide income-eligible buyers a 3 percent down payment on a new or existing home within city limits. The buyers, who must be pre-qualified by the Palm Beach County Department of Housing and Economic Sustainability, will accept a 10-year deed restrictive covenant lien at closing that provides for repayment of the down payment assistance back to the City of Westlake.  The repayment amount declines 10 percent per year. If a homeowner needs to sell their house within the 10-year period, the outstanding balance can be paid from the proceeds of the sale.  After 10 years, the restrictive covenant will automatically expire relieving the homeowners from any repayment obligation. 

“Many of the people who contribute the most to Palm Beach County can’t afford to live here,” said Mike Belmont, president of Minto Communities USA. “This initiative will help make home ownership easier to achieve.”    

To kick off the program, Minto Communities will fund the down payment assistance for the first 211 homes in the Hammocks neighborhood in Westlake with a $316,000 contribution. That’s equivalent to $1,500 per single-family home. The long-term plan is to have the $1,500 fee applied to every single-family home developed in the City of Westlake.  Any townhome or attached single-family home built in the future will also pay a fee, but at a to-be-determined amount that would be less than the single-family fee.  

“We’re focusing on single-family homes because that’s where the greatest need is today,” said Belmont. “No one is building that type of workforce housing for our county’s residents, and over time, as Westlake matures, the city’s workforce housing program can expand to include townhomes and attached homes.”  

Once the program is established and a new home is delivered, a $1,500 fee on each resale home will be paid to a newly created nonprofit, the City of Westlake Community Foundation, to fund future down payment assistance. Minto will also deed restrict certain non-residential and retail land sale transactions to include a one-half percent fee on the transaction value to be paid to the City of Westlake  Community Foundation.  Certain civic uses would be exempt from the program.  

“This aspect of the Westlake workforce housing program establishes an innovative perpetual funding mechanism that is not dependent on government funding sources or solely on new home development, which has a finite supply,” said Belmont. “Workforce housing is a community-wide issue and the funding for these programs should be drawn from a wide cross section of the entire community.”   

“This program will be transformative and innovative in its scope and breadth of implementation,” said John Carter, vice president of Minto Communities. “While Palm Beach County’s workforce housing program would require Minto to provide 455 homes as workforce housing, this proposal will have far greater impact. It also addresses the many structural issues found in existing workforce housing programs that have prevented the development of any single family homes. It’s rare that one initiative can benefit thousands of people well into the future, but that’s what we are proposing given the funding concept being implemented.” 

Separately, Minto, for a limited time, will offer a program which provides a 3 percent discount off the base purchase price of a new home for public servants such as teachers, firefighters, police officers, military, healthcare and government workers.  Any individual eligible to participate in the program can also enjoy the benefit of the 3 percent down payment assistance program offered by the City of Westlake as long as they meet the income qualifications.  Minto will offer single-family homes at Westlake from the $270’s.   

In addition, Minto has utilized its own funding sources to develop Westlake, meaning there are no costly Community Development District (CDD) bond re-payment fees passed on to homeowners, which saves the future Westlake residents thousands of dollars annually.

Located in Central Palm Beach County, Westlake blends residential, commercial and recreational elements into a vibrant new city.  The Westlake Town Center will be a comprehensive retail district with an eclectic blend of national and local retailers, wide sidewalks and public spaces that host a lively calendar of programming and events. The community will feature an aquatics center with lagoon-style pool, tower slide and splash pad, plus an adult pool with swim lanes and shade cabanas.  Expansive recreational lawns offer spaces for picnics, games and events.  Additional amenities include an adventure playground, dog park, sports courts and multi-purpose building. 

Minto Communities is also making significant improvements to the area’s infrastructure.  The builder is spending $25 million to expand and beautify Seminole Pratt Whitney Road which bisects the City of Westlake. Plans include widening the two-lane road to four lanes and adding a landscaped divided median, among other enhancements.  Minto has also donated 4.5 acres of land to Palm Beach County for a new high-tech fire station that will additionally serve as a district headquarters.  

For more information on Westlake, visit www.MintoUSA.com. 

About Minto Communities Florida: 

Minto Communities, based in Florida since 1978, has represented integrity, financial strength and enduring value for nearly 40 years.  Minto builds exceptional new homes and communities to meet every lifestyle, with more than 25,000 new homes built in Florida in 44 communities throughout the state.  Minto is dedicated to continuous improvement in design, quality and customer experience. Applauded and recognized as an expert in the home building industry, Minto was awarded “Best Floor Plans” from Ideal-Living magazine.  

These are just some of the elements that set Minto apart as an exceptional home builder and community developer, and have earned the company national recognition that includes consistently high rankings from Eliant Customer Service Surveys.  Minto has earned multiple national awards for community and home design, including Best Mixed-Use Community and Best Clubhouse from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for The Isles of Collier Preserve community in Naples, Florida; and Best Clubhouse from NAHB for the Beach Club at Harbour Isle located in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida.