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Inside the Skyway Marina District’s first affordable housing complex

Veronica Brezina

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A rendering of SkyWay Lofts in the SkyWay Marina District. Image provided.

Whether a St. Petersburg resident earns $8 or closer to $20 an hour at their job, local officials want to ensure the diverse workforce can call St. Pete their home, and it’s getting one step closer to that goal. 

On Tuesday, Blue Sky Communities, alongside elected city and county officials, celebrated the opening of SkyWay Lofts, a 65-unit affordable development at 3900 34th St. N and 3313 29th Ave. S. in the Skyway Marina District. 

Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony with elected officials and the Blue Sky Communities team. All photos: Veronica Brezina.

“This is an area that’s transforming from a hidden gem to one of the most important districts in our city,” Scott Macdonald, executive vice president and CFO of Blue Sky, said to the crowd during the event. 

SkyWay Lofts has two buildings with one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments for working families and persons on fixed incomes. All of the apartments are designated for tenants whose household income is far less than the area’s median income.

However, what’s unique about the project is how the affordable housing units are tiered. Rents range from $315 a month for a one-bedroom, one-bath unit for a tenant whose income is 30% of the AMI to $1,160 a month for a two-bedroom, two-bath unit for a tenant making 80% of the AMI. Although, the majority of the units are priced at $762 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $901 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.

One of the bedrooms inside a two-bedroom unit.  

SkyWay Lofts is the first ground-up project in St. Petersburg by Blue Sky Communities, which is based in Tampa. It’s also the first tiered workforce housing development in the district, which has some $200 million in luxury apartment construction currently underway. 

SkyLofts is already 100% occupied. Blue Sky representatives said they’ve received 1,800 inquiries for the units, meaning the 65 units sold only met a small percentage of the overall affordable housing units needed. 

“We have not put a dent in housing,” city councilwoman Deborah Figgs-Sanders said, commending the developers and reiterating how this type of development should be replicated throughout the area. 

One of two SkyWay Lofts’ buildings.  

During the opening celebration, Macdonald made remarks on how The Addison at Skyway Marina, directly across 34th Street from SkyWay Lofts, has market-rate units charging well above $1,000 per unit and how the SkyWay Lofts project can set an example of creating this type of development throughout St. Pete. 

“You can’t tell the difference from this to what’s across the street,” Pinellas County Commissioner Rene Flowers said, describing how the affordable units have stainless steel appliances, an open floor plan and upscale fixtures and amenities. 

The community center in the SkyWay Lofts. 

“It kills the stereotype of [how we imagine] affordable housing,” St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch said. 

The project was made possible by Florida Housing Finance Corp. housing credits, a loan from the City of St. Petersburg, over $700,00 of the county’s Penny for Pinellas funds and other sources. 

A kitchen in one of the units, which is currently occupied.  

The county owns the property, ensuring it will permanently stay affordable for residents. 

Blue Sky’s first-ever project in St. Pete was Duval Park, located in the Lealman redevelopment area in central Pinellas County, with affordable units for veterans.  

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Huie L. Byrd Jr.

    March 29, 2022at4:21 pm

    Please add Huie L. Byrd to the wait list for the 746 Delmar South property.

  2. Avatar

    Scott Macdonald

    March 30, 2022at9:30 am

    This is a typo. Blue Sky Communities is not developing Delmar Terrace.

    • Veronica Brezina

      Veronica Brezina

      March 30, 2022at10:57 am

      Hi Scott, we have updated the article and removed that reference.

  3. Avatar

    Mike

    March 30, 2022at12:00 pm

    I find it unbelievable that people think this is a good idea.

  4. Avatar

    Sue Blankenship

    March 31, 2022at11:19 am

    How do you apply for housing?

  5. Avatar

    rose hayes

    March 31, 2022at12:58 pm

    This is a good start. I am thankful.

  6. Avatar

    Charle Guy

    March 31, 2022at2:10 pm

    What a great project! It is also an extra bonus for its future residents since the Blue Sky Communities firm is based upon based upon the 3rd generation St Petersburg property management firm, Carteret Management Corporation, whose commitment to the long term success for their projects is based upon consistant and fair management practices. We hope that they can develop even more projects to help meet St Pete’s affordable AND attainable housing crisis

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