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Former SPC property receives three housing proposals

Mark Parker



A rendering highlighting the "look and feel" of what ASD | Sky hopes to build on a vacant, city-owned property. The firm's many project partners include NFL player and St. Pete native Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Images: Screengrabs, city documents.

In May, city officials purchased over five acres from St. Petersburg College (SPC) to provide approximately 105 new homeownership opportunities – with 30% reserved for students and faculty. They have since received three redevelopment proposals.

SPC deemed the property that once housed the Gibbs Wellness Center surplus and listed it for sale in late 2022. The city then submitted a competitive offer for the 5.23-acre site at 7045 Burlington Ave. N.

In November 2023, St. Petersburg City Council members unanimously approved allocating $4.2 million to purchase the property. They also agreed to pay for land surveys, inspections and closing costs.

At the time, Amy Foster, housing and community development administrator, said other bidders offered more for the property. However, she noted SPC officials “shared our goal of creating affordable housing, and we were successful with our below market bid …”

The city issued a request for proposals (RFP) in April, with responses due June 3. Officials sought developers to build over 100 townhomes for buyers earning less than 80% of the area median income (AMI).

The administration also encouraged proposals to include an arts facility encompassing 15,000 square feet. Developers can redevelop the existing Wellness Center or build anew.

A map of the site at 7045 Burlington Ave. N. in west St. Petersburg.

Here are the three proposals obtained by the Catalyst that administrators will consider before sending an agreement to the city council for approval:

Habitat for Humanity and Namaste Homes

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties and Namaste Homes proposed a joint venture with two site plans. The first includes 87 affordable townhomes, and the second would feature 104.

The development team favors the 87-unit proposal. Half the townhomes would have an 80% AMI limit, with the remainder capped at 120% under both plans.

“This development creates an opportunity for Habitat and Namaste to collaborate on a shared interest in providing affordable housing options for residents with a mix of income ranges,” the proposal states. “College Park Townhomes would provide a choice of housing options for first-time homebuyers who may not be able to afford single-family homes but want to live in a safe, stable community …”

The development would feature two and three-bedroom units with two bathrooms and on-street parking. “Florida-friendly” landscaping would require less irrigation.

The units would surround the Central Park. This “generously sized” greenspace would serve as a social hub and feature a dog park and pavilion.

Habitat and Namaste are known local commodities in the affordable home ownership space. The $37.9 million College Park project’s average home would cost $290,000, well below the other proposals.

A rendering of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties and Namaste Homes’ proposed project.

HP Capital Group

St. Petersburg-based HP Capital Group (HPC) diverged further from RFP guidelines. The development firm proposed building 72 townhomes for those earning between 80% and 120% of the AMI.

The group also seeks to purchase the property. HPC stated it would allocate at least 21 units for SPC students and employees and “is agreeable to a reasonable first look period for these buyers.”

The developers also provided two plans, with one featuring just 48 townhomes while transforming the Wellness Center into an “arts/community center.” HPC expects the 72-unit project to total $22.25 million, with purchase prices ranging from $310,000 to $425,000.

“The development simply cannot sell townhomes for less than the total construction costs (i.e. 80 AMI buyer pricing) without grant assistance,” the proposal states. “But HPC is open to this negotiation.”

The developers also noted homebuyers could receive down payment assistance. HPC, working in partnership with national builder D.R. Horton, offered to buy down mortgage interest rates to increase affordability.

A rendering of HP Capital Group’s proposed project.

ASD | Sky

Tampa-based ASD | Sky partnered with Goshen Construction Group, New Dimension Builders, Tampa Bay Neighborhood Housing Services (TBNHS) and Humble Beginnings, a nonprofit founded by local NFL player Marquez Valdes-Scantling, on its proposals. The group’s cover letter credited the St. Petersburg native’s “unique perspective” and TBNHS’ experience providing homeowners assistance and credit counseling.

The proposal includes 106 units. However, 34 are multifamily apartments with floor plans ranging from studios to two bedrooms, and the remaining 72 are three-bedroom townhomes.

The estimated total project cost is $39.03 million. Multifamily unit sales prices would range from $140,000 to $339,500. The average townhome cost is $375,000.

The development team would offer all 106 units for households earning up to 120% AMI. A community arts center would anchor the property.

“Our vision for the development of the SPC Wellness site is to enhance the already vibrant community of St. Petersburg’s west side with a development pattern that reflects the existing neighborhood fabric,” the proposal states. “Our design integrates the Community Arts Center as a grounding element for the new development while inviting engagement with the larger community through the use of an open, public green space.”


1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Sharon D

    June 14, 2024at5:12 pm

    As nice as this seems, it is just another housing opportunity that excludes elderly and/or disabled persons. Town homes have stairs making it difficult to impossible for us to safely abide. I’m both elderly and have stair climbing limitations.

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