Jan. 24, 2007 -- A Puerto Rico developer plans to build 174 single-family homes at Donoe on St. Thomas under the V.I. Housing Finance Authority's affordable-housing program.
"This is a prototype community," said developer Carlos Cacciamani Wednesday. A subsidiary of Urbanika International Housing, Oceanside Village, will build the Raphune Vista development.
The homes will be in the $250,000 range, Cacciamani said. Most will have three bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms, but some will have four bedrooms with 3 1/2 bathrooms.
The development will sit on 26 acres north of the Home Depot. The 174 homes will be built in the first stage, with another 60 planned in the second stage, Cacciamani said.
The development will incorporate energy-efficient elements such as solar lighting along the roadways, he said, while his company will build the homes of thermally insulated concrete to help with air-conditioning costs.
Raphune Vista will have three playgrounds. The development will have two entrances, Cacciamani said. One will be near the Home Depot and the other at the top of the hill. Seventy percent of the 26 acres will be preserved as green space, he said.
The company has applied for a group-dwelling permit from the Planning and Natural Resources Department, but hasn't applied for a building permit, Cacciamani said
The development is a turnkey operation, with the developer providing the land, design and financing, said V.I. Housing Finance Authority Director Clifford Graham. Urbanika built five homes on St. Croix under the affordable-housing program, and gets an affordable-housing tax exemption from the local government, he said.
"It pretty much mirrors the EDC program," Graham said, referring to the tax benefits packages available from the Economic Development Commission.
Sen. Alvin Williams announced the development Tuesday in a news release.
"One of the major problems faced by this community for many years is the lack of moderately priced homes," he said. "Many Virgin Islanders have not been able to realize their dreams to be able to own a piece of the rock."
Sen. Celestino White, who chairs the Legislature's Housing, Sports and Veterans' Affairs Committee, did not return a phone call requesting comment.
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