CREI Holdings Receives $41M Refinancing for Li’l Abner Affordable Community in Sweetwater, Florida

by Jeff Shaw

SWEETWATER, Fla. — CREI Holdings, a development firm, has received a $41 million loan for the refinancing of Li’l Abner II apartments in Sweetwater, just west of Miami.

Marc Suarez led the Lument team, which provided the funds. The project was completed in April 2023.

Designed by Burgos Lanza Architects and Planners, an architectural firm based in Coral Gables, the eight-story building is situated adjacent to its 87-unit sibling, Li’l Abner I. Li’l Abner II consists of 244 one- and two-bedroom units dedicated to affordable and workforce housing. Among these, 40 percent cater to low-income seniors, while the remainder is allocated to residents earning up to 120 percent of the area’s median income. The building is near full occupancy.

Renters and frontline workers are the hardest hit by Miami-Dade County’s shortage of affordable housing options, according to a new analysis of Census and employment data from the University of Florida’s Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. Most Miami-Dade households with incomes below $75,000 struggle with housing costs. Half of all households in the county are “cost-burdened,” meaning these individuals pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing. This includes three-quarters of households with incomes below $75,000 per year. 

In Miami-Dade, renters with modest incomes are the hardest hit. A total of 90 percent of renters with incomes below $50,000 are cost-burdened. The county has a gap of 90,181 affordable and available units for renter households with incomes below 80 percent of the area median income. This gap is projected to grow to nearly 116,000 units by 2030 unless affordable units are added, according to the University of Florida report.

Li’l Abner was a comic strip, later turned into two movies and a musical, most popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

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