Blue Sky Communities brings affordable housing, hope for new vision to North Tampa

Tampa Bay area-based affordable housing developer Blue Sky Communities is embarking on a project that will deliver new life to one of the areas of greatest need in North Tampa. 

The Adderley, a 128-unit multifamily housing development rising at 9300 Nebraska Avenue, broke ground on March 15th. The new affordable-housing community, slated to open in spring 2024, will reinvigorate a sweeping plot of empty land near the intersection of Nebraska Avenue and Busch Boulevard long ago vacated by hotel chain Ramada.

The Nebraska Avenue site bridges the Sulphur Springs neighborhood to the south and the Uptown District surrounding the University of South Florida. This geographical consideration was important for Blue Sky Communities, which was looking for a prime place to provide affordable housing in an area of Tampa where many low-income residents are being pushed out by gentrification. 

“Most new affordable housing in Tampa is in West River,” says Blue Sky Communities President and CEO Shawn Wilson. “This area of Sulphur Springs and Uptown has not benefitted from all the attention paid recently to areas nearer to downtown. The Adderley represents an important step for the city in its effort to help residents in every neighborhood.”

To qualify for residence in The Adderley, applicants must earn less than 80% of the area median income. This helps ensure that some of the people most in need of affordable housing have access.
“The need for this housing is enormous,” Wilson says. “Blue Sky’s properties have lengthy waiting lists, and it takes months if not a year or more to get in.”

While Blue Sky has a significant presence in Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County, The Adderley is the nonprofit's first project in the Tampa city limits. A $2 million investment from the City of Tampa is helping kickstart the development.

“The visibility of this development should entice other developers to seek opportunities in this neighborhood,” Wilson says. 

The Adderley is one of the first major redevelopment projects within sight of East Busch Boulevard – a corridor flanked by a hodgepodge of industrial and heavy commercial developments as well as aging strip malls and motels. 

The Adderley fronts Nebraska Avenue, which is itself a largely blighted row fielding mid-century motor inns, pawn shops and light industrial outfits. Wilson believes The Adderley will help spearhead further reimagining of Nebraska Avenue, “but it will take some time.” 

“We would encourage the city to promote and approve major upzonings along the Nebraska corridor,” he adds.

For more information, go to Blue Sky Communities
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Read more articles by Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez.

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez is a freelance writer who was born and raised in Tampa. He earned his BA in English from the University of South Florida and spent more than three years as a full-time copywriter for a local internet marketing firm before striking out on his own to write for various blogs and periodicals, including TheFunTimesGuide, CoinValue and COINage magazine. He has also authored local history books, including Images of America: Tampa's Carrollwood and Images of Modern America: Tampa Bay Landmarks and Destinations, which are two titles produced by Arcadia Publishing.