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Commissioners fund 307 affordable housing units

Mark Parker



The second phase of the Burlington Post development at 3100 Burlington Ave. in St. Pete will add 75 affordable units for seniors. Photo by Bill DeYoung.

Less than two weeks after Pinellas County and municipal leadership collectively pledged to increase affordable housing efforts, commissioners dedicated $12.51 million to advance four developments in St. Petersburg, Largo and Lealman.

One in three Pinellas residents struggles to remain in their homes, spending over a third of their income on monthly rent and mortgages. Nearly half of the 301 new units will help alleviate that strain in St. Pete.

Elderly residents on fixed incomes are particularly susceptible to soaring housing costs – and the Burlington Post II apartments will provide 75 homes for seniors earning 80% or less than the area median income (AMI). During Tuesday afternoon’s board meeting, Commissioner Renee Flowers thanked its development firm, the Green Mills Group, for its commitment.

“We are continuing to build upon the decisions that were made some time ago from this body to really look at those areas,” Flowers said. “We’re always looking for opportunities for our seniors to have a place that they can afford.”

Like many previously approved affordable housing projects, Burlington Post II stalled due to soaring construction costs, interest rates and inflation. The developer secured $4.255 million in state and national funding, and the City of St. Petersburg committed $5.625 million in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA), American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and community redevelopment area (CRA) money.

However, the $28.41 million development still had a $3.75 million funding gap until commissioners helped it over the finish line. County officials used $3.542 million of their latest ERA allotment and $208,023 of Housing Trust Funds to complete the construction financing.

The 55 and older development is adjacent to Burlington Post I, which offers 86 affordable senior apartments in St. Pete’s Kenwood District. The second phase includes 12 units for households earning less than 30% AMI, 39 for 60% and below and the remaining 24 are for those making up to 80% AMI.

The Heritage Oaks project in Largo’s Ridgecrest area features 80 new homes for seniors earning 60% or below the AMI. Flowers called those income restrictions “fabulous.”

“We’re approving these, and some of the people who might not watch our meetings and stuff, they might not know what we’re doing,” she added. “We consistently hear from people in the community – they want to see persons who are 80% AMI and below – they want to see projects in that arena.”

Heritage Oaks will replace 48 existing units on the Rainbow Village Apartments site, which features 24 “functionally obsolete” buildings set for demolition. The project is the first phase of the county’s redevelopment of the public housing community off 130th Avenue North in Largo.

County officials previously approved 9% tax credits and $610,000 for the nearly $29 million senior development. The developer, a Newstar subsidiary, requested an additional $2.75 million to offset increased construction costs totaling $3.65 million.

After the meeting, Bruce Bussey, the county’s community development director, noted that the Heritage Oaks and Lealman Heights projects were more challenging due to the current units onsite, and “all the planning that needs to take place to redevelop a property and make sure that existing tenants are properly taken care of and helped with relocation.” 

“So, multiple projects have been on the drawing board, if you will, for quite some time.”

Commissioners dedicated $2 million to Lealman Heights, which features 86 units for those earning less than 80% of the AMI in the underserved area just north of St. Petersburg. Land Use Restriction Agreements mandate a 30-year affordability period for the development.

While Bussey doesn’t believe creating any affordable development is “easy,” he said the other two – Burlington Post II and Skyway Lofts II – are comparatively straightforward as second phases.

“Every project is unique, and the fact that they lined up on a similar schedule was somewhat coincidence,” he added. “It was kind of nice to see them all together, and it made for good comparisons …”

The final project to receive funding is Skyway Lofts II in South St. Pete’s Skyway Marina District. The 66-unit development is for households earning less than 80% AMI.

Skyway Loft II will site adjacent to the current facility (pictured) in St. Pete’s Skyway Marina District. Photo provided.

The $23 million development represents another partnership with St. Petersburg, as city officials allocated $6.5 million in ARPA funding towards its construction. The developer, Blue Sky Communities, also received $12.8 million in tax credits.

Commissioners dedicated $3.4 million to land acquisition and capital improvement costs. Unlike the other three projects, the property will go into the County Land Trust, ensuring permanent affordability.

Bussey stressed the importance of the collaboration displayed at the April 28 Homes for Pinellas Summit. He said that extends to builders, developers, employers and local governments.

Bussey added that the county is comprehensively addressing affordable housing behind the strength of those partnerships. While $12.5 million in county funding is significant, he noted that it is just a fraction of what is needed to create 301 homes.

“Will 300 units solve the affordability problem?” Bussey asked. “No, but it is a really big step in helping over 300 families with their affordability issues in the future. It’s not only increasing the number of units, but it’s improving the quality of housing in the communities.

“It’s kind of a revitalization and neighborhood improvement aspect, as well.”


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  1. Avatar

    Lowery Lois

    May 11, 2023at9:02 pm

    Why can’t we have one waiting list for people that need affordable housing instead of having everybody apply for each individual unit? When a unit becomes available contact the next person on the list and see if they want that unit. This is ridiculous waiting for two and three years to get into one unit I am tired of waiting

  2. Avatar


    May 12, 2023at6:10 pm

    I agree with the Kermit this lady made on here but where do you apply for these at

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