BRADENTON — The Bradenton Housing Authority plans to redevelop the city’s oldest public housing site, the Sugg community in east Bradenton, as soon as next year.
The housing authority began asking contractors interested in the redevelopment to submit their qualifications starting Friday. Contractors can send their information anytime before Oct. 27.
This is only the first step in the process, housing authority executive director Wenston DeSue noted. After a contractor is selected this fall, the company must develop a site plan that would go before the Bradenton City Council.
Many details are still unknown, including how many housing units would be built on the site and how much the project will cost.
The project might be financed through a public-private partnership.
“It should be the first quarter of next year before we have anything solid,” he said.
The east Bradenton neighborhood is filled with green, red and yellow stucco duplexes.
A total of 70 housing units are on the 10-acre site, which is between Ninth and 13th avenues east and 19th Street Court East and 21st Street East.
But some of the houses are nearing 50 years old and are showing their age. And, DeSue said, the site could hold many more residences.
“We’ve just got a lot of under-utilized land,” he said. “The current placement of our units means that we’ve got a lot of interior land that can be looked at for redevelopment.”
Early plans call for more green space and maybe a courtyard and some small shops.
“It will be an excellent improvement for the area,” said City Council member Harold Byrd Jr., whose ward includes the Sugg site.
“I do embrace the concept of having more of a village approach.”
Although he supports the redevelopment’s concept, Byrd said he wants to make sure the new buildings don’t hamper traffic flow and fit within zoning requirements.
Because the proposal is so new, many residents said they had not heard about it. But several people said they enjoyed living in the Sugg community.
“When I first moved to Bradenton around 1990, it wasn’t that great- looking,” said Mary Charles, who lives on 13th Avenue East. “Now it’s more kept up.”
Paula Keen, who has lived in Sugg for “quite a long time,” also said the neighborhood is much nicer now. Until about five years ago, she said, bits of paper and other litter filled the yards.
“Oh, it used to be so trashy here,” she said. “It’s much better now.”
Keen, 84, said her apartment was renovated about 10 years ago, including a new paint job and security windows.
She has her own washer and dryer.
And she’s happy where she lives.
“I’m satisfied, but I’m an odd bird,” she said. “I hate change.”