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Habitat for Humanity selected by City of St. Petersburg to develop two major affordable homeownership projects in South St. Pete

Mayor Welch has selected the affordable housing builder to develop two major properties in Midtown.

On July 11, 2022, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties is proud to announce the organization has been selected by the City of St. Petersburg to develop two major affordable homeownership projects within the South St. Pete CRA: 18th St & 18th Ave S (The Grove) and 21st St & 18th Ave S (Pelican Place).

The news comes just months after Mayor Welch’s Community Conversation held at USF St. Petersburg in April, where one of the pillars of conversation was focused on affordable housing. Mike Sutton, a featured speaker at the event, urged the new administration and its residents to prioritize the development of housing opportunities for all.  “Through homeownership, we can create communities of opportunity, promoting sustainable growth that benefits all residents and stakeholders”, said Sutton. “An adequate supply of affordable housing is vital to creating an energized economy and healthy communities. Though a strong economy doesn’t always guarantee an adequate supply of affordable homes, an adequate supply of affordable homes does serve as the foundation for a strong and resilient economy.”

“The need for affordable housing at all categories and at all income levels is immense. At Habitat, we are solely focused on affordable homeownership. We believe affordable homeownership is the best way to benefit the surrounding area and its residents by allowing them to share in the equity creation spurred by planned redevelopment of the area. Homeownership is also one of the primary mechanisms in creating intergenerational wealth,” explains Mike Sutton, president & CEO of Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco.

In 1986, the affiliate completed its very first home in St. Petersburg in the Methodist Town neighborhood; has been serving the community ever since. Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco has vast experience in developing, constructing, and selling fee-simple affordable housing over its 36-year history, having just completed their 758th home. The organization is ranked #2 out of over 1,100 Habitat affiliates across the nation in new home construction and are the 14th largest home building in the Tampa Bay region according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Over the past six years, Habitat has opened a resource center on 22nd Street South and focused a $6M New Markets Tax Credit in partnership with Hancock Whitney Bank on the redevelopment of the South St. Pete CRA. And, since 1985, the affiliate has celebrated with nearly 400 families who know call St. Pete “home”.

 Habitat for Humanity's sketch of The Grove community to be built at 18th St & 18th Ave S.

Habitat for Humanity’s sketch of The Grove community to be built at 18th St & 18th Ave S.

The Midtown neighborhood of St. Petersburg is a vibrant community and home to a diverse population of residents and workers. Yet, for those who are long-term residents of the area, the housing crisis has long been in the making. Property values have skyrocketed in the vicinity, and residents simply cannot afford to purchase a home in the area anymore. The ability for people to purchase affordable homes is an important factor in both creating and sustaining a vibrant community. Unfortunately, residents are left with few options and are moving out of the city. These two projects will bring help alleviate some of these pressures and create additional opportunities to sustain a vibrant Midtown.

“After reviewing all proposals for these sites, Habitat for Humanity offered an innovative opportunity for homeownership, made affordable by their zero-percent interest mortgage program. This is a life-changing opportunity for homeownership and wealth-building for residents within the Southside Community Redevelopment Area. The monthly mortgage payment is truly affordable, and Habitat for Humanity is also a trusted organization in the community who we believe will deliver a quality project,” said Mayor Kenneth T. Welch.

At Pelican Place, Habitat aims to develop 44 units: nine two-bedroom units, nine four-bedroom units and 26 three-bedroom units. The units have one-car garages on the first floor. The homes would range between 1,000 and 1,300 square feet. The total development cost is roughly $13.5 million.

Habitat submitted two designs for The Grove. The 10-unit design consists of two five-unit buildings with primary frontage on Russel Street. The site plan for the 10 units would not entail having frontage on 18th Avenue South and it allows for a more open design with added green space for residents. The 12-unit design plan consists of four separate buildings. This design has primary frontage on 18th Avenue South, which aligns with the zoning. All the three-story units would have bottom-floor garages and a utility/storage area. There would be a total of two parking spaces per unit, to limit the impact of on-street parking in the area. The total development cost for the project is roughly $3.4 million.

Under Habitat’s proposals for both projects, 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. Per its proposals, Habitat has committed to exclusively marketing the site to South St. Petersburg residents and city staff for the first three months of the program.

The announcement exemplifies the establishment of a true private-public partnership between Habitat for humanity and the City of St. Petersburg; one that will vastly benefit South St. Pete residents.

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