Melrose-Mercy Homes Being Rehabbed, St. Pete

The once dilapidated Melrose-Mercy neighborhood in St. Petersburg is now seeing better days.

Investing $250,000 into a renovation project, Joe Cavaleri of Direct Express Realty recently purchased eight 625-square-foot four-plexes in Melrose-Mercy at 1799 Russell St. in St. Pete. All eight are expected to be completely redone by this week.

“Clearly, there had been a lot of drug dealing, prostitution and violence in the building,” says St. Pete City Council Member Karl Nurse, who recently toured the rehabilitated units with Mayor Bill Foster. “The quality of life was destroyed.”

But, in an attempt to reestablish the quality of life in the neighborhood, Cavaleri renovated the four-plexes with new HVAC, tile and updated kitchens, including granite countertops and brand new appliances. Each renovated apartment will rent for approximately $650 per month.

“We could never build for rehab cost, so you kind of win everywhere,” Nurse says. “In this case, you're getting all of the energy efficiency of a new apartment at a pretty competitive cost. Joe has done an excellent job.”

There are six other buildings on Russell Street identical to the four-plexes Cavaleri recently renovated; one occupied and five vacant. Currently, Cavaleri is working with the St. Pete City Codes and Police departments, negotiating for another building with four more units.

“We want to take back this street,” Nurse says. “It's not only a redevelopment, but sort of a cornerstone as a way to take back part of a blighted neighborhood.”

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