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Preservation, workforce initiatives combine in planned affordable housing development in Campbell Park

Margie Manning

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The Shell Dash Cottage, currently at 856 2nd Ave. N., would be relocated to a new affordable housing development on 16th Street South.

The St. Petersburg City Council has approved a plan designed to bring affordable housing to the Campbell Park neighborhood.

Exact Shell Dash LLC said it will develop new, for-sale housing on vacant land owned by the city at 1120 16th St. S., as the St. Pete Catalyst was first to report last year.

In addition to providing home ownership opportunities for low-income residents, the project will preserve an historic property and put south St. Petersburg residents to work, backers said.

Council Chair Ed Montanari called it a “win-win-win” before council members voted unanimously for a lease and development agreement with Exact. The agreement includes a $386,000 incentive —or $38,600 per unit —  from the South St. Petersburg Community  Redevelopment Area affordable housing redevelopment loan program.

Nine of the 10 homes that are planned will be three-bedroom, two-bath townhomes, each about 1,277-square-feet. The final home will be the Shell Dash Cottage, an historic property that will be relocated from its current location at 856 2nd Ave. N. and renovated to a one-bedroom, two-bath live/work unit.

The newly built homes will have an initial purchase price of more than $239,000 each and must be sold or rented to households whose income is 120 percent of less of the area median income. For the first 90 days, sales will be limited to households with income of 80 percent or less of the AMI.

 

Exact, a community-based developer based in Kansas City, Missouri, has a passion for historic projects, Bob Mayer, president of Exact Partners, told the City Council.

The project has the backing of Preserve the ‘Burg, said Rebecca Stewart, interim executive director. The Shell Dash Cottage, built in 1909, was donated to the organization by attorney and former City Council member Jim Kennedy and is the only remaining example of an architectural style that used shells on plaster exterior, she said.

The deal with the city calls for Exact to apply for a local landmark historic designation for the Shell Dash Cottage.

“It’s kind of a unicorn we wanted to be sure we were able to save,” Stewart told the City Council. “One of the things that we’re really excited about is working with you and developers and in keeping the historical nature and feel of what makes St. Petersburg so special. That partnership — that private, public, nonprofit partnership — is really important and this project hits all those nails right on the head.”

At $187 a square foot, the new homes will cost only $1 a square foot more than the current median price of $186 a square foot for older and smaller homes currently on the market in Campbell Park, said Natalie DeVicente, broker/owner at Southern Roots Realty, a boutique real estate firm in St. Pete that’s working with Exact.

“Our goals are not only to provide quality housing that can span generations of ownership, but also to include the community in their design and development so we can best serve the residents who need these housing options the most,” DeVicente said.

The developers met with Campbell Park and other nearby neighborhood associations, the Greater Mt. Zion AME Church across the street and several other community partners for their input and to help spread the word, DeVicente said. They plan extensive marketing and outreach to the community to find buyers for these homes and are in the process of solidifying local lenders to quality the buyers and provide different finance options.

The contractor on the project is Gabe Dilworth, a St. Petersburg native who is CEO of Professional Custom Concrete and Home in Tampa.

“He has worked with the Urban League here in St. Pete and he’s very committed to trying to hire local neighborhood residents in order to be engaged on some of the work he will be doing,” Mayer said.

Exact also is working with St. Pete Works! to identify both potential construction workers as well as potential homebuyers. 

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