After reviewing more than a dozen applications from developers, Pinellas County administrators have recommended the conditional approval of four projects that will expand affordable housing through funding from the fourth round of the Penny for Pinellas 1 percent sales tax.
The recommendations were presented at Friday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting by Bruce Bussey, the county’s community development manager, who said there had been a “strong response” from developers interested in snagging a piece of the county’s $80 million pie earmarked for affordable housing.
Applicants included both developers who specialize in affordable housing and those who traditionally build market-rate developments. They were scored in a variety of categories including geographic location, the income levels their developments would serve and the types of developments they planned to build. The review also included evaluating cash flow, construction costs and funding sources.
The four projects recommended for conditional approval would create 702 units, 412 of which would be deemed as affordable. The county funding would total just over $11 million, with an average affordable unit subsidy of $25,869. County staff will continue to monitor the projects and follow up with due diligence measures before the funds are disbursed.
Here’s how it breaks down by project:
- SkyWay Lofts – Blue Sky Communities
This $16.4 million project, which broke ground in September, will construct 65 multi-family apartments at 3900 34th St. South. It will provide housing options for families earning between 30 and 80 percent of the area median income. Developers requested $700,000 for land acquisition. Construction is estimated to be completed by mid September 2021.
- The Shores – Richman Group
This $12.5 million project at 26th Ave. and 31st St. South will construct 51 multi-family apartments, all of which will be affordable for families with incomes below 60 percent of the area median income. Developers have requested $750,000 for land acquisition. The estimated completion date is early May 2022.
- New Northeast – Stock Development
This $97 million mixed income rental apartment community at 5475 3rd Lane North will construct 415 total units and 125 workforce housing units. It will provide housing options for families earning between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income. Developers have requested $4 million for capital improvement construction. The estimated completion date is August 2022.
- Washington Avenue – Southport
This $38.4 million workforce housing apartment community at 306 S. Washington Ave. in Clearwater will construct 171 units and will provide housing options for families earning between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income. Developers have requested $5.6 million for land acquisition and capital improvement construction. The estimated completion date is late December 2022.
County staff will continue to work with applicants who weren’t quite ready to move forward. Bussey said he may have additional projects to present to the board in the next 90 days, and noted there will be multiple application cycles each year. Developers are invited to reapply if their project isn’t chosen to receive funding.
At a county meeting in late 2019, Evan Johnson, strategic initiatives manager for the Pinellas County planning department, said there is a significant need for more housing for low-income residents. More than 140,000 households in Pinellas County have incomes at 120 percent or less of the average median income and are considered “cost-burdened” because they pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing.