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Trop talk, part four: Housing

Margie Manning

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Wendover Housing Partners' rendering of proposed mixed-use street façade on 16th street. (ELEVEN18 Architecture)

Editor’s note: In this multi-part series, the Catalyst will compare and contrast each of the seven proposals for the Tropicana Field site according to five major redevelopment needs that each plan was asked to meet: commercial and office space, housing, I-175 and transportation, parks and green space and hotel and convention center space. 

One of St. Petersburg’s most critical needs is housing that’s attainable for a large range of household incomes.

Each of the seven plans submitted in response to a request for proposals for redevelopment of the Tropicana Field site addresses housing, but the developers have a wide variation in approaches, including how many residential units could be built on site with and without a ballpark.

In its RFP, the city said there should be a mix of housing opportunities, including ownership and rental. The RFP also calls for affordable and workforce housing, three- and four-bedroom housing for families, and housing which permits pets.

“If the City commits to prioritizing housing options on this redevelopment site, then Wendover Housing Partners is the ideal master developer for you,” said the plan from Wendover, an Altamonte Springs-based developer.

Wendover Housing Partners’ master plan projects 1,286 units of affordable and workforce multifamily units, which accounts for 58 percent of the total 2,196 residential units that would be built across multiple phases. Wendover’s vision is for “life cycle housing,” and specifically addresses the shortage of affordable and market-rate housing for aging adults. Residential development would be integrated throughout the site, with six dedicated affordable housing parcels on the west side of the property and several more mixed-income towers adjacent or to the east side of a potential new stadium.

Creekside, the plan proposed by Midtown Development, also has affordable, workforce and market-rate residential units spread throughout the project. Rentals and for-sale units are mixed together. The project may yield 10,000 units of housing or more, the plan said. “Midtown proposes to work in partnership with the city to fund, design and build 1,000 low and moderate income, green-certified residential units,” the plan said. “Midtown will provide up to $1 million additional funding for the FROM ALL FOR ALL public initiatives in housing prior to ground-breaking at the site.”

JMA Ventures and Sugar Hill Community Partners plan a total of 3,200 residential units in a scenario without a ballpark, and 1,969 residential units if the project includes a ballpark. Blue Sky Communities, a Tampa company that focuses on affordable and workforce housing, is a member of the Sugar Hill team, and has set a goal of developing 35 percent to 40 percent of the total residential units as affordable, designed for households whose earnings are 80 percent of the area median income. Another 10 percent to 15 percent of the units would be for workforce housing for households earning 100 percent to 120 percent of area median income. Blue Sky would designate some of the available units for local artists to provide an “artist in residence” program and is considering a micro-unit product. About 100 for-sale condo units also would be designated as affordable housing.

Blue Sky Communities also is listed as the “preferred affordable housing developer” in the plan from TRS Development Services. The TRS plan calls for a balance of lower, middle and high-income accommodations, including three high-rise luxury condos with a total of 225 units built early in the construction cycle. That part of the project would be called “Sky Wave,” because the undulating height of the towers would simulate a wave. Later phases would include 430 for-rent multifamily units as well as “William’s Quarters,” named for a minority neighborhood that was razed to make way for Tropicana Field. It would provide up to 240 affordable units in three-story villas.

Unicorp’s Petersburg Park integrates affordable housing into the master plan through design and environmental considerations, rendering it indistinguishable from other products in the plan. If a stadium is built, Petersburg Park would have 2, 925 housing units — roughly one-third affordable, one-third workforce and one-third market rate and luxury units. Without a stadium, there would be a total of 3,448 housing units, with affordable housing making up the additional units. Unicorp said Pinnacle Housing Co., based in Miami, would be in charge of the project’s affordable and workforce housing component.

The plan from Storage Rentals of America includes 2,100 apartments with a ballpark and 2,520 apartments without a ballpark. A potential future phase would add another 420 apartments The housing would range from studios to one-to-four bedroom units to live-work units.  About half would be affordable and about half would be market rate.

Portman Holdings and Third Lake Partners’ proposal said it would have residential product targeted toward a variety of family sizes and income levels, including affordable housing. The proposal does not specify the percentage of the total units built that would be affordable or workforce housing. With a ballpark, there would be 3,531 units, and without a ballpark there would be 3,901 units.

Visit the City of St. Petersburg’s website to view all of the proposals and submit comments about them.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jordan Lorenzo

    February 4, 2021at12:24 pm

    Portman Holding’s owner, Ronald Wanek, put millions towards Trump’s reelection efforts.

    Billionaire who made bank because of COVID in 2020… and is buddy-buddy with Trump. Portman recently won the bid for the St. Pete municipal services center.

    Sure hope they don’t get this.

  2. Avatar

    Karen Kirkpatrick

    February 17, 2021at7:46 pm

    I am in agreement with you on this.I am in hopes other propositions will be considered since a bid has already been awarded for the St. Petersburg Municipal Services Center to Portman. I am concerned as to what they plan to do, if anything, with the beautiful bias relief sculpture on the building facing east on Third Street?

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