Civitas of Cape Coral will be the first affordable workforce housing community built in Cape Coral, using certain low-income levels as a prerequisite for moving into the units. Once construction is complete, the development complex will feature 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units for 96 families. This development is especially important in a community of 209,000 because it was recently listed as having some of the highest rents in the country. Per HUD guidelines, the most a family will pay for a two-bedroom at Civitas will be approximately $1,450 per month. If people fall in the two lower income brackets, they will expect to pay $905 and $575 per month. Affordable workforce housing is critical in Cape Coral because most of the community’s workers travel out of the city to their jobs. The community has a 92 percent residential base and is only eight percent commercial, so this type of housing fills a great need for Cape Coral, which has a median income of about $64,000. To introduce this development to the community, the stakeholders, led by ReVital Development Group scheduled a groundbreaking recently, inviting dignitaries and the media.
Because of the value of this project and the need for it in Cape Coral, we identified an opportunity to invite dignitaries and the media to be part of the recent groundbreaking. We knew this project would be attractive and newsworthy for the media and of special interest to dignitaries who knew of the attainable workforce housing challenges and the need for this type of housing in the community. We compiled a list of key dignitaries and personally invited them to the event. We reached out to all the media outlets – newspapers and TV – and talked with reporters individually about the importance of covering the big day, the significance of the multi-family development and why their readers and viewers would be interested. We built a day mirroring the importance of it, presenting the dignitaries with miniature shovels with the name of the project, the key developers and the date of the event. We ordered special gold shovels for the actual groundbreaking. We arranged the items needed for the event like a podium, sound system, tents, chairs, lighting (the event started at daybreak), as well as a generator to power everything. We arranged the speakers and the order of events.
Our understanding of the importance and substance of this project and our initial planning paid off. We had Cape Coral City Council and Lee County Commission members in attendance. We had Cape Coral city staff there. We also had two TV stations covering the event – Fox 4 and WINK. We had several print and digital media outlets there for the event, including the Cape Coral Breeze newspaper. The TV stations and print media were able to interview the developer – specifically Michael Allan, president of ReVital Development Group – as well as some of the key dignitaries. We had over 50 people in attendance. The media coverage that day and the following day was thorough and provided the region with all the essential information about the impact of the development. This event was a success for the developers and for Spiro & Associates. We will continue to work with the developers as the project continues to make sure the media keeps up to date on its progress. Allan also wants to build future attainable workforce housing developments in Cape Coral and surrounding areas, providing even more opportunities for Spiro & Associates to deliver on this quality and much-needed product.