Mayor Welch selects Habitat for Humanity for two southside affordable housing projects

Affordable homeownership coming as soon as the end of next year with the section of Habitat for Humanity to develop land on 18th Avenue South. Pictured above is an artist rendering of Pelican Place, 44 three-story townhome units for homeownership, each with attached garages and driveways.

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Ken Welch selected Habitat for Humanity to develop land on the 2100 and 1800 blocks of 18th Avenue South. The project will provide affordable homeownership opportunities to residents with mortgages as low as $1,075 per month up to $1,300, incredible affordability made possible by Habitat’s zero percent interest mortgage program.

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 of 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 to 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,” said Mayor Welch. “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.”

Habitat’s proposal includes developing 44 three-story townhome units for homeownership (Pelican Place), each with attached garages and driveways. The units will range in size from 1,000 square feet to 1,300 square feet, with nine two-bedroom units, 26 three-bedroom units, and nine four-bedroom units.

All units will be reserved for individuals and households earning at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).

Current terms of the agreement include a $725,000 property purchase price, with $750,000 in public funding from the city ($16,500 per unit) with $1.012 million in funding from Penny for Pinellas, pending approval.

Total development costs are estimated at $13.54 million.

The Grove, which will be situated on the 1800 Block of 18th Avenue South, will include 10-12 three-story townhome units for homeownership with attached garages and driveways.

Habitat estimates the first phase of the project, including 15 units, will be complete by Feb. 2024; the second phase will be finished with another 15 units by Oct. 2024, and the final phase will be done with 14 units by July 2025.

“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,” explained Mike Sutton, president & CEO of Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco.

Habitat has also been selected to develop a smaller parcel of land on the 1800 Block of 18th Avenue South (The Grove). That project includes 10-12 three-story townhome units for homeownership with attached garages and driveways.

All units in this project will be three bedrooms at 1,704 square feet. All units will be reserved for individuals and households earning at or below 80 percent AMI with a selling price of $225,000 per unit.

For that project, the city will donate the land and provide $640,000 ($64,000 per unit) in public funding if the project includes 10 units, or $705,000 ($58,750 per unit) if it includes 12 units.

Development costs are estimated to cost $2,890,233 for 10 units or $3,406,617 for 12 units. Construction is expected to begin in Jan. 2023, with completion by December 2023.

Under Habitat’s proposals for both projects, not only are the homeowners provided a conventional 30-year, zero-interest mortgage, but also Habitat would eliminate the need for a down payment and not require private mortgage insurance. 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.

For both projects, the proposed affordability period will be for 10 years. However, the city is seeking a longer affordability period as part of its negotiations with Habitat to create a term sheet.

Once established, a term sheet will be used to draft a Development Agreement for City Council consideration and approval.

Three other development teams submitted proposals for the 2100 block, including Green Mills Group of Fort Lauderdale, Blue Sky Communities of Tampa, and Sugar Hill Group/New Urban Development of St. Petersburg and Miami.

Two other development teams submitted proposals for the 1800 block, including Namaste and Perc “Tiny Homes,” both of St. Petersburg.

Habitat’s selection was determined after consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of each development by city staff, the Citizens Advisory Committee and a private citizen.

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