ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Hundreds of affordable housing units could be coming to southern Pinellas County.
The former lumber site on Fairfield Avenue in St. Petersburg has been in Jeff Brandes’s family for decades. “I grew up here. I had my first job here working for my family,” he said.
The former state lawmaker is pushing to put price-friendly housing on the property. Renderings show plans for a 264-unit complex.
“There’s such a desperate need for units that are affordable for families in this community,” he said.
Thursday, during a regularly scheduled meeting, the St. Petersburg City Council is voting on whether to fund a portion of the project. Developers are asking council members to contribute $9.6 million. Pinellas County commissioners approved $12.4 million for the transformation.
Brandes said it’s an ideal location. “It’s next to Gibbs High School, it’s near the Pinellas Trail, the interstate is just a couple minutes away, so there’s easy access, you can be downtown in five minutes,” he said. “For residents who are living and working in the downtown core, this is the perfect location for them to find affordable units.”
He also sees potential for the area. “This is going to be such a catalyst project because we’re going to see other things come out of this. As this property is developed, I think you’re going to see other projects around here really have the courage to step up and develop, as well,” Brandes said.
If funding is approved, project leaders expect to break ground in early 2024. They say construction should be complete by the end of 2025.