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Developer proposes to buy site near Tangerine Plaza for affordable housing

Veronica Brezina

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The rendering of a proposed affordable housing development from the Green Mills Group and the Advantage Village Academy Inc. (AVA). Rendering: Green Mills Group/City of St. Petersburg documents.

A South Florida-based affordable housing developer has made an unsolicited bid to the city to purchase property for its next big project. 

The Green Mills Group has offered the City of St. Petersburg $1 million to purchase or lease a 2.1-acre vacant site at 2100 18th Ave. South, across from Tangerine Plaza. The group is proposing to build 96 affordable/workforce residential units at the site in a five-story building, according to its bid. 

Green Mills Group would work on the project with Advantage Village Academy Inc. (AVA), a not-for-profit organization based in St. Petersburg.

“We are confident our team can work with the city to craft a viable financing and development plan for the property that will help increase the supply of affordable housing in St. Pete while also providing a beautiful community which will serve as a catalyst for economic and social advancement,” Oscar Sol, Principal and Managing Member of Green Mills, wrote to the city. 

Green Mills’ partner AVA provides educational programs and training to help individuals and local businesses develop skills and cross-training to help build financial stability and self-sufficiency. AVA hosted St. Pete’s 32nd Annual MLK Dream Big Parade, introducing new routes and a family festival at Tropicana Field. AVA recently took over an empty 14,000-square-foot retail space, formerly used by Walgreens, to expand its footprint. 

The total project cost would be roughly $21.87 million, which includes the cost of $227,789 per unit.  

“Increasing the city’s stock of affordable and workforce housing is a top administrative priority. The mayor is excited to consider proposals that further this goal. At this point, the unsolicited proposal from Green Mills Group LLC and Advantage Village Academy Inc. has not been approved,” a city spokeswoman said. 

Because the offer was not solicited, the city has posted a notice inviting alternative interested parties to submit proposals by 10 a.m. Feb. 16.

After all/any proposals are submitted by the deadline, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch will evaluate them and determine whether to move forward. If a proposal is selected, it would be subject to city council approval, the spokeswoman said. 

Green Mills Group’s proposed affordable housing project in the city wouldn’t be its first. The group developed the 53-unit Burlington Place and the Burlington Post affordable housing developments in St. Pete’s Historic Kenwood neighborhood.

The Green Mills Group and AVA also previously submitted a bid to purchase Tangerine Plaza, across from the 18th Avenue subject site. The group proposed developing a mixed-use project with apartments, a parking garage and the redevelopment of the grocery building as a food pantry. 

Green Mills Group’s bid for 18th Avenue South shows that the 96 units would include 19 studios, 41 one-bedroom units and 36 two-bedroom units. 

All of the units would be at or below 80% of the AMI (Area Median Income). 

The amenities would include a secure building entrance, club room, fitness center, business center and a family game room. 

The developer noted the property’s current zoning limits the site to 67 residential units. Green Mills said it intends to seek site plan approval for a minimum of 90 residential units and a total of five stories.

The increase can be accomplished by utilizing new city ordinances that can provide flexibility in approving site plans and density boosts for affordable housing developments, Green Mills wrote. 

The site is currently zoned as corridor commercial traditional; thus, this city ordinance may require an amendment to include this zoning category. If not, the developer said it would then seek a traditional rezoning.

Construction for the project would begin in early 2023, and completed in 2024.

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    Steve Lambert

    January 20, 2022at4:18 pm

    Good, I would love to see our Food Bank location with the fine folks at Positive Impact in the former Walmart Market property across the street!!!!

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