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Rays and Hines propose to flip parking lot into affordable housing

Veronica Brezina



The parking lot site at 1659 3rd Ave. S., St. Petersburg. GoogleMaps.

The Tampa Bay Rays and global real estate firm Hines are vying to flip a parking lot property across from Tropicana Field into a new affordable housing complex, as part of their promise to create economic equity within the $6.5 billion redevelopment of the Historic Gas Plant District. 

Through a to-be-formed joint venture between the Rays and Hines, the partners have submitted a proposal to the City of St. Petersburg to enter a 99-year ground lease for the property at 1659 3rd Ave. S.

The duo, with an affordable housing partner, intends to co-develop the 0.58-acre property into an 80-unit housing community that would cater to residents earning less than 100% of the area median income. 

“We believe our proposal, which contemplates a ground lease and development of affordable for-rent housing, represents a strategic opportunity to provide high-quality affordable housing to the St. Petersburg community,” Hines Senior Managing Director Michael Harrison wrote in an Oct. 11 letter to the city. 

A sketch of the proposed affordable housing project near Tropicana Field is highlighted in blue. The conceptual drawing shows the surrounding planned development. Image: Tampa Bay Rays and Hines.

Harrison said the site’s contiguity to the Gas Plant allows the group to integrate the new development into the HGPD master plan while the city would have long-term strategic ownership of the property. 

“By providing affordable housing, the project will contribute to a more diverse community that honors the legacy of the Historic Gas Plant Neighborhood,” the letter read. 

The joint partners said the affordable housing complex would benefit from the group’s $50 million intentional equity commitments they initially promised the city in the Gas Plant redevelopment agreement. 

The proposed community benefits and “intentional equity.”

The project would also benefit from the group’s initiative to have 20% to 30% of minority or women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) participation throughout the construction process.  

The partners would “make commercially reasonable efforts” to start construction in 2025. 

The single-phase development would include 2,500 square feet of retail and surface parking. 

A site plan showing the surrounding developments adjacent to the subject site. Image: Tampa Bay Rays and Hines.

Hines, which has over $94 billion of assets under management, highlighted multiple residential developments in its portfolio, including the Apartments at Lincoln Common, a 538-unit housing complex in Chicago with 10% affordable housing for residents earning 60% of the AMI. 

The 1125 Arguelo in Redwood City, California, is another housing development it cited as a related example. The 43-unit project, co-developed with Habitat for Humanity, has all for-sale affordable housing. The project is part of a 3.5-acre site that features condominiums, office space and 43,000 square feet of childcare through the adaptive reuse of two historic homes.

For the proposed St. Pete project, the partners have listed Best Source Consulting and DEI & ESG Consultants as part of the team. 

Hines and the Rays would pay the city $1 per year for the full 99-year lease term. 

The unsolicited bid has triggered an open process for others to submit alternative proposals undertaking the lease, purchase or development of the site.

Proposals must be sent to the city’s real estate and property management team by Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. 

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  1. Avatar


    November 10, 2023at9:13 am

    What about this housing is affordable? Affordable for who? Stop lying to your readership and call it what it is. It is subsidized housing. It’s not a “deal”. It’s not “discounted”. It’s not a “sale”. It’s paid for by someone else in a economically inefficient scam.

  2. Avatar

    Alan DeLisle

    November 10, 2023at9:03 am

    This administration doesn’t believe in unsolicited proposals. That was the problem with Dynasty and Moffitt, we were told. I thought the Council was opposed to unsolicited proposals as well. I guess it’s different if it’s the Rays. Can’t wait to see how $1 a year in rent for 99 years is justified against the appraisal of this property. I guess the value of 80 housing units at 100% AMI is worth a lot more than a world class Moffitt clinical cancer and research center with 200 quality jobs, not to mention all the spin off jobs that would have been created. So I guess we continue to see that it is the city paying for all of the Rays’ community benefits. What is unfolding is smoke and mirrors.

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