Go shopping for a new home in the Tampa Bay Area and what do you find? Lots of options for high-end real estate going for $750,000+ and plenty of choices in low-income neighborhoods where housing is largely dated or unavailable because residents can't afford to go anywhere else.
The result? A large gap -- often called the "Missing Middle'' -- in housing choices, prompting middle-class, working Floridians and newcomers to contribute to urban sprawl by moving out to the suburbs and beyond to find a place where they can afford to purchase a home, live a desirable lifestyle, and be surrounded by a neighborhood preferred to raise a family or enjoy a comfortable retirement.
That situation in cities and urban areas across America is drawing attention here and elsewhere as governments, private developers, and homebuyers look for solutions. Watch this video story to learn more about the issue and how local leaders are responding.
A home built out of 2 shipping containers under construction in West Tampa is an example of "Missing Middle'' housing. Photo by Diane Egner
A private property owner in West Tampa opts to build a new home out of shipping containers rather than pay for expensive new construction. Photo by Diane Egner
A South Tampa home that sold in the mid-$90,000s in the 1990s now fetches $500,000+. Photo by Diane Egner
Smaller Central Tampa homes like this often are bulldozed for new construction costing hundreds of thousands of dollars more. Photo by Diane Egner
Doman Homes is among the developers working to close the "Missing Middle'' housing gap in East and West Tampa. Photo by Amber Sigman
Want to learn more about Missing Middle and Affordable Housing potential solutions?
In 2020, the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission hosted a virtual Info BBQ (Brown Bag Quarterly) featuring how the City of St, Petersburg has addressed the issue of Mixed Use and Missing Middle Housing in their policies. Follow this link to a video featuring that discussion and samples of solutions
The Planning Commission is currently updating the Housing Element of the Unincorporated Hillsborough County Comprehensive Plan. The Housing Element is one of three Elements that will be integrated under a newly established Community and Built Environment Chapter of the Plan. The Affordable Housing Density Bonus (AHDB) is a tool in the Plan and Land Development Code (LDC) to incentivize the development of affordable housing.
On April 21, 2021, the Planning Commission approved a contract awarded to Tindale Oliver to provide recommendations for an updated AHDB to be incorporated into the Plan and LDC. The project team held a workshop with the Planning Commission to provide an update and solicit feedback on the progress of the study, which you can view here.
To learn more about the Missing Middle housing situation and other issues facing Hillsborough County, visit Plan Hillsborough
Funding to produce this video story was provided by Plan Hillsborough. To become an underwriting partner, email [email protected].
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Julie Branaman is a Sustainable Environment Video Creator, Editor, and Multimedia Photojournalist pursuing new visual experiences around the nation. Now based in Los Angeles, she and her husband James founded The Branamans Video Production
. Julie is the former Managing Photographer at 83 Degrees
and once worked as a photographer at The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com, and News Channel 8. Prior to arriving in the Tampa Bay Area, she freelanced in the Seattle area, working on national and international stories. She's a graduate of Western Kentucky University. When not making images, she and James are likely to be found hiking, kayaking, or snorkeling their way around California, Florida, Maine, the National Park System, and America's unique landscapes in between.