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North St. Pete affordable housing development receives approval

Mark Parker

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The Flats on 4th project will provide 80 units for people earning less than 60% of the area median income. Screengrab, city documents.

A vacant property along 4th Street North in St. Petersburg’s Gateway area will soon feature 80 apartments for residents earning roughly $26,000 to $39,000 annually.

The Development Review Commission unanimously approved the proposed site plan Wednesday. The $37.5 million project, dubbed Flats on 4th, sits in a coastal high-hazard area.

The project represents a public-private partnership between Orlando-based Archway Partners, the Pinellas County Housing Authority and city and county officials. Flats on 4th will cater to those earning 40% to 60% of the AMI.

“We’re excited to get started on this,” said Dave Heaslip, development partner at Archway Partners. “It is 100% affordable housing. All that we do at Archway Partners is affordable housing in the State of Florida.”

Flats on 4th will feature a four-story, “L-shaped” building with 52 one-bedroom and 28 two-bedroom apartments. Archway initially planned to build the permitted 46 units at the three-acre site.

However, state graywater and workforce housing density bonuses allow another 34 apartments. Archway will dedicate nine units for people earning at or below 40% of the AMI, with the remaining 71 capped at 60%.

The property is at the southwest corner of 4th Street and 106th Avenue North. Zoning official Corey Malyszka said Archway must provide a hurricane evacuation and reentry plan and “enhanced building designs” to comply with the city’s coastal high-hazard regulations.

The DRC’s only concerns centered on the graywater – filtered wastewater from household uses – system bonus. Established by the state in 2021, the program allowed Archway to increase density by 35%.

Commissioner Chuck Flynt asked if the significant benefit included a monitoring mechanism. Malyszka said graywater systems are self-regulated, and noncompliance is essentially a code violation.

“The worst-case scenario is they (residents) would just be getting water to flush their toilets from the same sources all of us do,” said Commissioner Tim Clemmons. “And then we gave them a 35% bonus with no benefits to the public.

“I don’t disagree that this is a huge bonus. It’s debatable as to what the extent of the public benefit is.”

An overhead view of the three-acre property at the southwest corner of 4th Street and 106th Avenue North. Screengrab, city documents.

The workforce density bonus allows six additional units per acre or 18 total. Archway’s primary funding source is $18.22 million in tax-exempt Housing Authority bonds.

According to the project summary, Archway is pursuing $4.35 million from the city and $2.9 million from the county. The Housing Authority will also issue 32 housing vouchers to help fund the project.

“The more units that you can build – you get more operating efficiencies,” Heaslip said. “You also get reduced construction costs.”

He explained that state housing officials reward developers who can create the most units “with the least amount of money.” Heaslip credited the expansion for receiving an additional $6 million in funding.

“We actually applied in previous applications without the graywater density bonus,” he added. “Our application just wasn’t competitive.”

The project’s apartments will sit atop a podium structure to mitigate flooding threats. The 80 units will feature granite countertops and energy-efficient appliances and fixtures.

Flats on 4th will provide a community room for resident activities and catering, a library, a coworking space and a technology lab. The project summary states that all units “will be developed with the same high-quality standard, regardless of the income level of the resident occupying the unit.”

Archway expects construction to commence in the fall.

 

 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Edward

    March 10, 2024at2:46 pm

    When will someone build apartments for people on SSD and older than 65.We always seem to be forgotten. Section 8 currently have a 5-8 year waiting period. Bring our dignity back and let us know we aren’t forgotten. Income of 1500 a month doesn’t even have us being able to apply for places to live.

  2. Avatar

    Scott Rubin

    March 7, 2024at8:47 pm

    This development would provide an unequivocally perfect location and environment for myself and phenominal pet therapy partner to serve all manner of deserving individuals with healing, comforting,joyous warmth throughout our greater community for as long as I remain physically able to do so. This is my full time avocation going forward. A 27 year St. Pete resident–I currently live within 1 mile at 93rd Ave & 7th St. No.
    Securing a ground floor unit would be a genuine dream come true.
    Current Social Security income is $1750 monthly.
    Please inform me how to apply ASAP.
    Thank you, Best Regards,
    Scott Rubin
    srubin17@gmail.com
    727-564-3983
    Many references from local professionals available.

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