By: Samarya Elliott

Construction project manager Sabah Corso (BDES ’05, MARCH ’08) and her company First Florida recently broke ground on their latest affordable housing project entitled, “Lil Abner,” which is set to be a senior living apartment complex located in Sweetwater, Fla. Lil Abner will be an eight-story building containing 244 units, housing residents aged 55 and older.

“The area of Sweetwater has a lot of mobile homes,” Corso explained. “The apartments present an opportunity for people to move from mobile living to an apartment at a discounted price should they choose to invest.”

First Florida specializes in multi-family housing and is widely known for affordable properties which house lower-income families comfortably. The project was inspired by a similar First Florida project across the street, which has been at full occupancy since it opened 13 years ago. Since the Miami metro area is known for high-end luxury condos and apartments, Lil Abner is another addition to shifting the norm of what Miami living is used to.

Corso’s role as the construction project manager means she oversees managing the construction progress, schedule and budget. Not only does she have to coordinate closely with the architects and engineers for any design and construction conflicts that may arise with all the subcontractors, but she also has to complete the project on time and within budget. Despite the stress that comes with the job, the two-time University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning graduate considers it a blessing to work on such a meaningful project.

“Having worked on many high-end projects in the past, I find it more humbling and rewarding to be able to use my skills, knowledge and experience to ensure we build quality buildings for the working class,” Corso explained. “I find it refreshing and an honor to work with the Lil Abner developer, as he is very passionate about the neighborhood, the people and the demographic living in Sweetwater. Combating the affordable housing crisis is a joint effort by a plethora of parties.”

Corso credits DCP for challenging her to develop creative problem-solving skills to be able to take on and manage complex and challenging construction projects. Within DCP, she also credits the UF School of Architecture for teaching her a wide variety of tools to perfect her practice as an architect, before she jump-started a career in construction management.

“I am very grateful for the interdisciplinary offerings DCP provided,” Corso said. “I think that is one of the assets that the college brings. They really do expose you to a wide range of skills.”

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