Fannie Mae Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge- Adaptive Reuse


The Florida Housing Coalition is pleased to announce that it has been selected by Fannie Mae as one of three organizations to receive a contract award under the Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge (The Challenge). In partnership with the Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF), we will explore the feasibility of adapting vacant commercial spaces into attractive and functional mixed-use apartments and co-working offices for low-income entrepreneurs. The goal is to design a replicable and scalable model that can be deployed in communities across Florida and the country. Over the course of 18 months, our staff will speak with local governments, regional and national retailers, developers, finance leaders, designers, and low-income entrepreneurs to understand what is needed and what can be done to turn those vacant commercial spaces into vibrant entrepreneurial communities.



This an opportunity for creative solutions to the affordable housing issues facing our state. Ashon Nesbitt

Technical Advisor, Florida Housing Coalition

 The Challenge is a $10 million initiative launched late last year, aimed at developing collaborative, cross-sector approaches that advance sustainable communities to help address the nation’s affordable housing issues. Phase 1 of the initiative focuses on supporting the research, design, and development of new ideas and innovative solutions at the intersection of affordable housing and employment and economic opportunities.

Proposals were evaluated against a predetermined set of criteria and went through multiple rounds of review, including a semi-final review by an Expert Advisory Panel comprised of leaders from public, private, and nonprofit sectors. More information can be found at Fannie Mae’s Challenge website here.

Visit this page in the months ahead as the Coalition executes on its contract under The Challenge. Our team will post regular updates on progress and lessons we learn along the way.

Technical Assistance

The Florida Housing Coalition offers technical assistance and planning services for adaptive reuse of vacant and non-traditional space. Our team will work with you to determine the maximum possible uses for a space and will assist in pre-development for your site. Our team can help you navigate through the many barriers to adaptive reuse of vacant space, including offering technical assistance on the following:

  • Market analysis and business planning
  • Land use and zoning
  • Traditional and nontraditional financing
  • Housing and economic development subsidies

At the Coalition, we know vacant commercial and industrial space can present a real barrier to neighborhood revitalization, particularly if a parcel sits vacant for a protracted time. Through creative application of site design, programming, and financing, you can turn parcels of blight into economic development and community revitalization success stories. The first step starts by emailing the following information to Ben Toro-Spears at toro-spears (at) flhousing (dot) org.

  • Name
  • Organization
  • Email
  • Phone Number
  • Brief Description of Project


For more information on adaptive reuse and the Coalition’s technical assistance contact Ashon Nesbitt, Technical Advisor and Research Analyst, at 850-878-4219, or nesbitt (at) flhousing (dot) org.