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Sugar Hill, Blue Sky and others bid on South St. Pete site

Veronica Brezina

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Sugar Hill Group's rendering for its proposed affordable housing project at 2100 18th Ave. South, St. Petersburg. Rendering: Sugar Hill Group/City of St. Petersburg documents

Groups proposing to build affordable housing units to an education center at a site in South St. Pete are all on the table. 

The City of St. Petersburg received four additional proposals from groups vying to purchase the city-owned site at 2100 18th Ave. South. 

The proposals were submitted after the city received an unsolicited proposal from the Green Mills Group, which offered the city $1 million to purchase or lease the same site.

Because Green Mills Group’s offer was not solicited, it triggered an open process for the city to invite other interested parties to submit proposals by 10 a.m. Feb. 16 (today). 

Here’s a breakdown of all the submitted proposals

Sugar Hill Group

Sugar Hill Group LLC, in partnership with the New Urban Development, is proposing to build 95 affordable housing units at the site.  

The Sugar Hill Group, which is the same team slated to redevelop nearby Tangerine Plaza, is offering the city $1.5 million for a 75-year-long lease. 

The proposed green-certified residential building will include amenities and features consistent with the restate market standards. Amenities will include a fitness and wellness center, a community room and a business center.  

A rendering of the 95-unit affordable housing complex. Sugar Hill Group/City of St. Petersburg documents

The planned 95 residential units include:

  • 39 one-bedroom units
  • 38 two-bedroom units 
  • 18 three-bedroom units

The group plans to utilize local Pinellas County bonds from the Housing Finance Authority, coupled with state and city subsidies.

The Sugar Hill Group highlighted its role in redeveloping the adjacent Tangerine Plaza and the 22nd Street parcel. 

 The Sugar Hill Group states it was awarded the development rights to the city-owned 22nd Street parcel site in 2020 and began finalizing negotiations to obtain site control in the form of a long-term land lease. 

Sugar Hill Group plan to develop a mixed-use and mixed-income community by renovating the existing 47,000-square-foot commercial building on the eastern half of the 3.6-acre Tangerine Plaza. It would be redeveloped into multiple commercial spaces and create a new grocery store, according to Sugar Hill’s proposal, along with 105 residential units. 

With the plans for the reimagined Tangerine Plaza and the 18th Avenue corridor, Sugar Hill would create a total of 200 affordable housing units in the area. 

PARC Center 

The PARC Center for Disabilities is proposing to acquire the site to develop a new educational campus. 

PARC states its existing 7.5-acre campus in Tyrone, which has served the community for over 50 years, is no longer feasible and is costly to maintain. 

The group is licensed to have 163 students with 13 classrooms for infants to Pre-K students. 

Most children PARC serves live within the 300% or less federal poverty level, according to PARC. 

A site plan renderings showing the daycare facility at PARC’s proposed Discovery Learning Center. Image: PARC/City of St. Petersburg documents

The new 21,000-square-foot PARC Discovery Learning Center campus would have a large daycare facility, an art, music and library space, a non-behavioral therapy area, a kitchen, offices, a nurse station, an outdoor playground area and other needed spaces. 

A site plan of the PARC Discovery Learning Center. Image: Parc/City of St. Petersburg documents

The proposal does not state the financial details of the building nor information on the offer it is making for the site. 

PARC CEO Michelle Detweiler was not immediately available for comment. 

Blue Sky Communities 

Tampa-based Blue Sky Communities LLC is offering the city $1 million to purchase the site to build a 67-unit affordable apartment complex.

It would be for those who earn 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). It would also offer amenities. 

Blue Sky Communities would be willing to purchase the property as-is from the city by utilizing 4% Federal Low Income Housing Credits. 

The funding is awarded annually by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC).

“Blue Sky has extensive experience applying for and winning the funding in St. Petersburg, in Pinellas County and throughout the state of Florida. To that end, we have determined that the property is an excellent candidate for winning Funding in the upcoming 2022 FHFC application cycle and providing desperately needed affordable housing for the local residents,” the group wrote in its proposal. 

“The need for affordable housing in the City of St. Petersburg is immediate and it is important. While there is the potential for more units on this site, that is a process that will take longer and may not ultimately be successful. For that reason, we are proposing the maximum number of units that would not require additional approvals.” 

Blue Sky has worked on a number of local projects. 

The group most recently completed and opened the 65-unit SkyWay Lofts affordable housing development in the Skyway Marina District. 

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties is offering the city $750,000 to acquire the land to develop 44, three-story townhomes, which would be sold on a fee simple basis to income-qualified homebuyers. All of the units built will be sold to home purchasers who earn at or below 80% of the AMI. 

An aerial rendering of Pelican Place. Rendering: Habitat for Humanity

Habitat anticipates the $13.5 million affordable housing development, dubbed Pelican Place, would serve 130 adults and families and have an average monthly rent of $1.211 for a three-bedroom unit. 

Under Habitat’s proposal, the homeowners are provided a conventional 30-year, 0% interest mortgage. Habitat would also eliminate a need for a down payment and not require private mortgage insurance (PMI). It would only require $1,000 in closing costs.

“This helps break the cycle of generational poverty by providing a path to affordable homeownership and significantly strengthening economic mobility. Moreover, eliminating the interest component of a mortgage keeps payments affordable and allows individuals who otherwise would not be able to afford a home to realize their dream of homeownership,” Habitat wrote. 

The homes would range between 1,000 and 1,300 square feet. Habitat said it expects to develop nine two-bedroom units, nine four-bedroom units and 26 three-bedroom units. The units have one-car garages on the first floor. 

The group would seek financial support from the city and Penny for Pinellas IV funding. It would also engage the community in a capital fundraising campaign to offset the need for public dollars or additional financing by raising $1 million in private/corporate donations for the development.

Read more about its proposal here. 

A new unsolicited proposal for a nearby site

Additionally, another proposal was submitted; however, it was submitted for a site located within a one-minute walk from 2100 18th Ave. South. 

Less than half a mile away, St. Pete-based development group Namasté Homes LLC is seeking to acquire the property at 1805 18th Ave. South for a townhome development that would be designated for residents earning below 120% of the AMI. 

Namaste’s rendering of its proposed affordable townhome development at 1805 18th Ave. South in St. Petersburg. Image: Namasté/City of St. Petersburg documents

“We propose to achieve increased affordability by providing seller financing to the purchasers of homes in this development and thus avoid many of the other addon expenses such as mortgage insurance, appraisal fees, mortgage originator fees and the like that specifically new homeowners are often saddled with,” Namasté wrote in its proposal. 

The community would feature 11 two-story townhomes. The roughly 1,300-square-foot units would be priced at $215,000. 

The deed-restricted units will be affordable for households with three or more members earning between 80% and 120% of the AMI, according to the proposal.

If the project moves forward, the group expects to commence construction in January 2023 with the first closings for home sales starting in December 2023. The project is expected to be complete by July 2024.

Namasté is currently developing 28 freestanding homes in partnership with the City of Pinellas Park, and plans are in progress to develop an additional mixed-use development, including condominium units and 2,500 square feet of retail and commercial space, according to its proposal. 

Because Namasté submitted an unsolicited proposal to purchase the site, the city is inviting any alternative proposals from private developers interested in undertaking the lease, purchase or development of the site.

Proposals must be submitted by 10 a.m. March 9. 

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    j O'Gara

    February 16, 2022at8:18 pm

    big developers or habitat and affordable housing – no contest here, big $ wins.

  2. Avatar

    Shirley Hayes

    February 17, 2022at5:53 pm

    Habitat for Humanity Please!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Avatar

    Mike

    February 18, 2022at2:12 am

    Have you ever driven down the beach and noticed there is hideous building after hideous file cabinet building and said to your self, we should subside that hideous scar on this location? Well here is your opportunity to permanently destroy this location.

  4. Avatar

    Mike

    February 18, 2022at2:21 am

    “The community would feature 11 two-story townhomes. The roughly 1,300-square-foot units would be priced at $215,000.”

    If this turns out to be true I will buy you this unit.

    Good luck selling it.

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