Tampa celebrates opening of new apartments for low-income seniors

Activity is picking up at the new and renovated public housing apartments for active seniors living in Tampa, as tenants begin to move in. The Tampa Housing Authority also has several big projects moving toward completion, with others still in the planning stages.

Two brand new buildings known as The Renaissance at West River, are complete and about 25 individuals and couples have already moved in, says Leroy Moore, director of the Tampa Housing Authority.

Mary McLeod Bethune Apartments, a renovated complex with 150 units, already has 15 new tenants and growing.

And the Housing Authority has opened its waitlist for two-bedroom units at The Renaissance since all those previously waiting have moved in. Most of those moving into the buildings either previously lived at Mary McLeod Bethune or have been on a waitlist for public housing, some for years.

There are three more buildings under construction at West River and 500 more units are now under construction at ENCORE Tampa! and expected to be completed in 2021, Moore says.
“Robles Park Village is our next big project,” he says. “We have started the master planning process just this month and will unveil the master plan in the second quarter of 2021. Relocation will start by the fourth quarter of 2021.”

Those who have relocated to the newly completed buildings are thrilled with the results, Moore says.

“They absolutely love it. I was on site last week and saw one of the residents and he was so appreciative of how new and beautiful the apartments are. They are all blown away about how different it looks inside and outside,” he said of the Mary McLeod Bethune renovation. “Even the outside looks new and different since we changed the aesthetic and added public art.”

The tenants are excited about the changes and rightfully so, he says. “Those displaced by construction got first dibs on returning.” And several have taken advantage of that.

Most of the apartments are one-bedroom units, 650 square feet in Mary McLeod Bethune, and 800 square feet in the newly constructed Renaissance buildings, which contain 160 units. Each has air conditioning and heat, modern kitchens, islands, and connections for washer and dryer units. There is also a laundry room on each floor for those who prefer to use them. And each building has a community room and space for a hair salon.

Because those moving into the public housing apartments are either former tenants or those on a waitlist, the Tampa Housing Authority is not able to accommodate those feeling the pinch of the COVID-19 pandemic or the subsequent loss of jobs, Moore says.
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Read more articles by Yvette C. Hammett.

Yvette C. Hammett, a native Floridian and a graduate of the University of Florida, has spent much of her career as a professional journalist covering business, the environment, and local features throughout the Tampa Bay Area. She is an avid camper and outdoors person who has also been involved in local events for foster children and the elderly.