Section 8 Housing In St. Petersburg Faces Renovation

A dilapidated St. Petersburg apartment complex with a troubled past is being sold and facing renovations.

Citrus Grove Apartments at 731 15th St. S. is a seven-building, 84-unit complex in the Campbell Park neighborhood, located directly across the street from John Hopkins Middle School at 701 16th St. S.

Owned by nonprofit Bethel Community Baptist Church, the Section 8 complex has a long history of crime, drugs and gangs. It was home to those involved in the 2009 drive-by slaying of 8-year-old Paris Whitehead-Hamilton and 16-year-old Nicholas Lindsey who was charged with murdering Police Officer David S. Crawford in February. After those events, St. Pete community leaders and City Council Member Karl Nurse put pressure on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to encourage Bethel Community to sell.

“Cirtus Grove Apartments is really the linchpin to improving the Campbell Park neighborhood,” says Nurse. “John Hopkins Middle School has complained for years now about the drug dealing and such across the street, so the ability to clean up any crime-related issues will allow us to bring the area back.”

According to Nurse, Chicago-based Trinity Partners signed the contract on September 9, and is expected to close by the end of the year. A $1.5 million rehabilitation project is set to begin in 2012 and should last about nine months. The goal is to rehab Citrus Grove unit kitchens, bathrooms, air conditioning, windows, water heaters and floors; the expected cost is about $20,000 per unit.

“I just really want to make sure that we get this area its much-needed renovation and that we put in management that are used to working on projects that need to be turned around,” says Nurse.

For more information on Citrus Grove Apartments, visit the Pinellas County Subsidized Rental Housing website.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Karl Nurse, St. Petersburg City Council
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