A 65-unit apartment complex going up in the Skyway Marina District of St. Petersburg will be the first affordable housing complex built amid a mix of commercial establishments and older suburban homes in that neighborhood.
Workers from nearby Walmart, Wawa, and Dunkin’ Donuts would potentially be some of the first tenants because their pay scales match requirements for the new apartments and the jobs are all within walking distance, says Shawn Wilson, President of Blue Sky Communities
, which uses a mix of federal and state cash incentives to build affordable housing complexes.
Rent for a two-bedroom apartment at Skyway Lofts will run $800-850 per month, Wilson says. The apartments are expected to be completed within 12 to 14 months.
Wilson’s company is among the largest affordable housing developers in the nation and has constructed more than 1,300 units in Florida.
“We have been trying to do something in the Skyway Marina District for several years, actually, and now was the right time,” Wilson says. “We knew it was an up-and-coming area and we know the state is trying to target their funding in areas that are not traditional low-income neighborhoods.”
About 75% of tenants who will live in Skyway Lofts will be households with working parents and about 25% will be people on fixed incomes, Wilson says. The maximum income for a family of three is capped at $37,980 per year.
When companies like Blue Sky take state and federal money for affordable housing projects, they must agree to certain terms. For this project, Blue Sky agreed to 50 years of affordable rents and to only rent to people whose incomes fit the requirements.