Pinellas County Housing Authority Celebrates Completion of Community Revitalization

 

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From left to right, St. Petersburg City Councilman Wengay Newton, HUD Field Office Director, Alesia Scott-Ford, PCHA Chairman Joseph Triolo, PCHA Commissioner Alan Swartz, Stephani Lavely representing the Honorable Congressman David Jolly, PCHA CEO Debra Johnson, PCHA Vice Chair Angela Rouson, PCHA Commissioner Michael Guju, Raymond James Bank Exec. VP Thomas Macina, Florida Housing Finance Corporation Legislative Affairs Director Jacqui Peters, Florida State Rep. Kathleen Peters, Raymond James Tax Credit Funds Senior VP Sam Shupe.

 

On Thursday, May 21, 2015, approximately 150 guests attended the ribbon cutting celebration for the beautiful, completely renovated, Landings at Cross Bayou in St. Petersburg. Prior to its gut rehab and renovation, the property was a vintage 1970’s public housing property with failing infrastructure.

The Landings at Cross Bayou was the first HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration project to close in Florida, preserving the HUD subsidy for very low income families.  Norstar Development USA, LP and Pinellas County Housing Authority co-developed the project. Financial partners include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Florida Housing Finance Corporation, Raymond James, Pinellas County, Norstar Development USA and Pinellas County Housing Authority.  The new property was designed by Bessolo Design Group and constructed by Brooks & Freund.

In addition to all of the partners that made Landings possible, other attendees and participants in the ribbon cutting included State Representative Kathleen Peters, representatives from the offices of Congressman Jolly and State Senator Jeff Brandes, HUD Field Office Director Alesia Scott-Ford, and PCHA board members Joseph Triolo, Angela Rouson, Michael Guju, and Alan Swartz. Rep. Peters praised Pinellas County Housing Authority and partners for a job well done, saying, “The people that have put this together have really worked on building a really, really strong community for some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Rick Cavalieri, Construction and Development Manager for Norstar, praised the housing authority’s efforts in creating a lasting, affordable community through what was a difficult and intense project.  Alesia Scott-Ford made similar remarks, saying, “It is just great to see the power of partnership and putting the greater good at the very forefront of what we do,” adding, “This project was actually the very first RAD project to close in the state of Florida… To really pull one of these projects off is a challenge.”  The Pinellas Sheriff’s Police Athletic League executive director, Neil Brickfield, spoke passionately about the importance of providing a safe home for youths to learn and grow, saying, “How many of us have a safe place to live every day? … What would it be like if you were trying to raise a family and you didn’t have a safe place, and then you got the opportunity to move to the Landings? That weight’s off your shoulders; Landings residents don’t have to worry about that part. They live in a newly renovated, clean, wonderful place.”

 

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The Community Center offers a business center, library, fitness room, and a large gathering space with a warming kitchen for events.

Landings at Cross Bayou is the result of public-private partnerships providing mixed-financing for 184 one, two and three bedroom apartment homes. The new property has income-based rents through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program. Each unit has Energy Star appliances, ceramic tile floors, cherry wood cabinets, central air conditioning with humidity control, and walk-in showers. On-site amenities include a spacious Community Center with warming kitchen, lounge area with TVs, library, business center with computers and internet access, and fitness center. The Youth Center will house the Pinellas Police Athletic League program and includes a computer lab, craft space, large gathering room, and a playground with basketball court.

Pinellas County Community Planning Manager, Frank Bowman said, “The renovations are magnificent… but the inclusion of the community space, and acknowledging the need for programs for children, opportunities and facilities to provide the residents with support services, shows that this is going to be a wonderful, wonderful community for hopefully another 50 years.  Pinellas County is very, very proud to participate in this project and to work with our wonderful Pinellas County Housing Authority partner on a regular basis.”

The community is pet friendly and all buildings are 100% smoke-free. The community is professionally managed by Norstar Accolade Property Management. “We are tremendously grateful to all of our partners for making the complete revitalization and preservation of HUD subsidy for this property possible.  Pinellas County continues to be in dire need of good, quality housing for low income individuals and families and we’re very thankful that we were able to preserve this property for many years to come.” said Debbie Johnson, PCHA’s executive director.

 

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All units come with Energy Star certified appliances.

Landings was designed by Bessolo Design Group, Inc., who had previously worked on Pinellas Heights, an affordable senior-living community in Largo, and constructed by Brooks & Freund. Funding for the construction of Pinellas Heights was made possible by:

 

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Florida Housing Finance Corporation
  • Raymond James
  • Pinellas County Community Development
  • Norstar Development USA, LLP
  • Pinellas County Housing Authority

 

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Landings at Cross Bayou was designed by Bessolo Design Group, who had previously worked with PCHA on Pinellas Heights in Largo.

The Pinellas County Housing Authority was named the Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials 2014 Housing Authority of the Year. As the largest housing authority in Pinellas County, PCHA owns and operates over 1000 units of non-subsidized affordable rentals, in addition to federally subsidized rentals and rental subsidies, providing housing opportunities for over 8,000 county individuals. PCHA’s focus is on providing affordable housing through the development, ownership, and management of properties, and administration of rental assistance programs. For more information about PCHA, visit www.pinellashousing.com

Norstar Development USA, LP has been involved as lead developer in more than twenty (20) separate mixed-finance/mixed-income public housing authority transactions. Norstar had worked with Pinellas County Housing Authority and partners on Pinellas Heights and completed the 153-unit project last year.

PCHA Featured in Affordable Housing News Magazine

Affordable Housing News recently featured PCHA in an article about our 50th anniversary and some of our upcoming projects!

The Pinellas County Housing Authority has developed quality affordable housing for its community for more than 50 years. The agency now owns and manages 1,756 public and affordable housing units and an additional 3,200 Housing Choice Vouchers; in total, PCHA provides assistance to more than 4,800 families, elderly and disabled individuals, and veterans.

Click here to read more.

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PCHA Celebrates 50th Anniversary!

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Pinellas County Housing Authority. Since 1965, PCHA has continued to be a proven leader and innovator in affordable housing. To commemorate the occasion, photos and articles from the PCHA archives will be presented to show the historical importance of housing in Pinellas. The complete history can be found by clicking here.

To learn more about what PCHA did in 2014, including some new developments for 2015, take a look at our slideshare presentation!

 

 

First Residents Return to Landings at Cross Bayou in Time for Thanksgiving

Just in time for Thanksgiving, residents have started returning to Pinellas County Housing Authority’s (PCHA) newly renovated Landings at Cross Bayou in St. Petersburg. As the holiday season approaches, the families to return to the new community are settling into brand new, energy efficient, affordable housing units. Ms. Pamela Quince, a returning resident said, “The relocation process was great, I did not have any problems. I was able to come back to a new place, and I just love it!”

Completely renovated inside and out with sustainable, modern improvements, the former French Villas public housing community will be home to approximately 350 residents when construction is complete by spring 2015.

Late last year, the property was converted from public housing to a new HUD program, the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), which allows housing authorities nationwide new opportunities to reinvest in their properties. Built in 1970, the old French Villas property was plagued with severe issues stemming from an aged and obsolete infrastructure that had reached the end of its useful life. Every unit on site needed to be gutted and remodeled, from the inside out. Residents living on the property were provided relocation rental assistance and relocated during the renovation process.

The interior design of the new units at Landings at Cross Bayou incorporates state-of-the-art, energy saving improvements such as Energy Star Certified appliances and ceiling fans in every unit, programmable thermostats, outdoor lighting with daylight sensors, and Energy Star Certified cool-roofs on each building. Additionally, every unit will be equipped with new cabinetry and countertops in the kitchens and bathroom, as well as beautiful ceramic tiled floors.  Each individual unit will be wired and for high-speed internet as well.   The new community will also feature a covered, outdoor picnic area with permanent picnic tables and a grill to use, as well as a basketball court to play on.  The new Youth Center Building will house a library, a new computer lab with internet access for residents, though as well.

Ms. Quashell Davis echoed Quince’s feeling on the process of relocation, and upon seeing the finished Landings remarked, “I love the features!” Residents like Quince and Davis will now enjoy many of the same amenities expected of any newly-constructed apartment complex.

As PCHA continues its commitment to the residents of Landings, a youth based athletic program to engage and support children in the community is already in the planning stages. The end of March 2015 will see all residents moved into their new homes; just in time for the community ribbon-cutting. Landings at Cross Bayou no longer suffers from inadequate, outdated plumbing, and unsanitary conditions, but instead is a modern icon of the improving quality of public and affordable housing.