New and renovated housing is slated for Jordan Park, an historic African American housing development in south St. Petersburg.
A vote Tuesday by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners paves the way for the $71.6 million project to move forward after several years of stops and starts, said Michael Lundy, CEO of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which owns Jordan Park.
The project will increase and improve housing opportunities for low-income St. Petersburg residents, a top focus for both city and county officials. Jordan Park also is just south of Deuces Rising, a redevelopment along 22nd Street South, an area in which the city is investing heavily.
Under terms of the deal approved by county commissioners, 60 units of senior housing will be constructed. They will include one- and two-bedroom units in a three-story garden apartment complex. The new units will replace 31 units of senior housing built in 1937 that are described as “dilapidated and outdated” in a memo to the commissioners. The existing senior housing has been vacant since 2018 and will be demolished.
There also will be substantial renovations of 206 existing units of family housing that were completed in 2003. Those apartments range from one- to four-bedrooms in one- and two-story buildings It will cost about $81,000 per unit to renovate the family housing.
The family housing renovations will take place in two stages to minimize disruptions, Lundy said.
“We’ve talked to all the residents, more than once … and they are excited about the redevelopment of Jordan Park, as we are,” Lundy said. “We are committing additional resources to ensure residents have a safe relocation and an uninterrupted, low-stress relocation process. We are in the process of hiring social workers to counsel residents for mobility counseling and we’re also going to be purchasing a van to get around town to look at various places that are available.”
Commissioner René Flowers raised concerns about children who live at Jordan Park.
“When you are relocating families, there’s no guarantee they would be able to relocate on site. Even though the rehabilitation is going to take place in two phases, there may not necessarily be enough units to move all the families from one side or another, so they stay in the vicinity and those children continue to go to Melrose, Tyrone or Azalea … We did talk about that and I offered my assistance to help in any way I can about that,” said Flowers, who previously served on the Pinellas County School Board.
About two dozen residents who relocated when the senior housing was shut down in 2018 have indicated they want to return to Jordan Park, Lundy said. They will have first right of return as will residents in the family units, he said.
“That first right of return, especially for seniors, is so important,” said Commissioner Charlie Justice. “This is a very special location to a lot of folks and that needs to be recognized.”
To pay for the project, Commissioners unanimously approved the issuance of $38 million of multifamily housing revenue bonds by the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County. The rest of the funding will come from low-income housing tax credit equity from a private investor, said Brian Evjen, vice president of development-affordable housing at Norstar Development USA in Tampa. Norstar is partnering with the St. Petersburg Housing Authority on the project.
All of the housing units in Jordan Park are public housing. About 15 percent of the residents have household income at 30 percent or less of the area median income, and the rest have household income at 60 percent or less of the area median income. All residents pay 30 percent of their income toward rent, with the rest subsidized by Section Eight housing vouchers.