The St. Petersburg Housing Authority has received a $1 million grant that is going toward its $29 million development of apartment housing for senior citizens in the former Ed White Hospital.
The grant was issued by the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York through its Affordable Housing Program. It was secured through the sponsorship of Valley Bank, a New Jersey-based bank with a footprint in Florida, according to a statement.
The bank’s “corporate social responsibility team identified the opportunity and supported the application,” the statement says. The housing authority was the only organization in Florida to get money from the $42 million program.
The six-story, 121,000-square-foot former hospital is on Ninth Avenue North in the city’s North Kenwood neighborhood and, when complete, will include 71 apartments for low-income seniors. Along with the apartments, there will be 1,939 square feet of office space, and the building will be the site of the housing authority’s new headquarters.
Construction is expected to begin early next year.
Rainer Pelzel, a commercial relationship manager at Valley Bank, says the housing authority’s application was successful because of the organization’s reputation and who the apartments will help.
“St. Petersburg has experienced sky-rocketing rent and home prices, and SPHA is not just helping with the affordable housing need, but also helping to make their clients financially independent through the resources they provide,” Pelzel says in the statement.
The cost of living in St. Petersburg, especially in downtown where multimillion-dollar condos are coming online almost faster than you can count them, has been a point of heated debate in recent years. With so much new development coming online, long-time residents have complained that they are being squeezed out of their own neighborhoods by newcomers and the businesses that serve them.
The city and outside developers are cognizant of this and have been working to address the issue.
That includes the $1.3 billion, 86-acre redevelopment of the Tropicana Field site, the biggest and most transformational project in the works in St. Petersburg. The Tampa Bay Rays and development partner Hines have committed to build 1,200 affordable and workforce housing units on and off the site as part of their plan to redevelop the Historic Gas Plant District and build a new stadium.
The St. Petersburg Housing Authority works with 4,000 low-income households.