Work crews complete demolition of the North Boulevard Homes public housing and start construction on the West River redevelopment project. <span class='image-credits'>Leroy Moore</span>

New milestones on West River, ENCORE! Tampa apartments

The Tampa Housing Authority has reached a significant milestone on its ambitious West River project while celebrating the recent completion of a major addition to its ENCORE! Tampa development.

At West River, work crews in backhoes have demolished the last remaining 1940s-era, barracks-style apartment building remaining on site from the North Boulevard Homes public housing complex. The focus has now shifted to building West River, a $350 million mixed-use, mixed-income development along the west bank of Hillsborough River that will include nearly 1,250 market-rate apartments, 96 townhouses, more than 840 affordable housing rentals, 90,000 square feet of retail space and 70,000 square feet of office space.

Housing Authority Chief Operating Officer Leroy Moore says work has now commenced on the first of five mixed-income residential buildings that are fully funded for construction. Combined, the buildings will have a total of 796 apartments. Moore says he expects multiple construction cranes to be on the property within a year. He says the Tampa Housing Authority is also in serious talks with businesses that are interested in the planned retail space.

At the ENCORE! property near downtown, officials with the Tampa Housing Authority, the City of Tampa, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Florida Housing Corporation and the Banc of America Community Development Corporation also gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the recent completion of Tempo at ENCORE!, the latest addition to the mixed-use development on the former site of the Central Park Village public housing complex.

Tempo includes 203 mixed-income apartments, a 5,000-square-foot clubhouse, a fitness center, a 100-seat capacity theater, music rehearsal rooms, a library, and a business center.

During the ceremony, Winifred Crecy, a former Central Park Village resident who now lives in ENCORE!, says she now enjoys a safer, better quality of life without the drug and crime problems that came to plague Central Park Village.

ENCORE! and West River are part of the Tampa Housing Authority’s campaign to replace aging public housing complexes with mixed-use, mixed-income developments in order to avoid creating isolated pockets of poverty as seen in historic urban housing projects.

Tampa Housing Authority Chief Executive Officer Jerome Ryans says after West River, the Housing Authority will turn its attention to redeveloping Robles Park Village, one of the city’s oldest remaining public housing complexes.

Read more articles by Christopher Curry.

Chris Curry is a freelance writer living in Clearwater. Chris spent more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily in Ocala and Gainesville, before moving back home to the Tampa Bay Area. He enjoys our local music scene, great weather and the wealth of outdoor festivals.
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