BRADENTON -- A developer has tentatively been picked for a major redevelopment project in East Bradenton.
The Martin Luther King Jr. gateway affordable housing project will feature residential and commercial units on 1.2 acres of vacant property at Ninth Avenue East and Third Street East. The project includes demolishing the 1950s-era Love Apartments at Sixth Street Court East and Ninth Avenue East, relocating the residents into the new MLK complex during demolition and rebuilding the Love Apartments.
The Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency has labeled the developments its "signature project."
In November, the CCRA met with Northstar Development USA of Tampa, which will develop the project and its community development partner, the National Development Council.
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Earlier this month, the CCRA met again with Northstar, which specializes in obtaining the federal tax credits necessary to fund the project. CCRA Director Tim Polk said the conversation went well.
"We talked about the vision for the area and the immediate needs of the community," said Polk. "We talked about the mixed-use component of residential versus retail and how much of the housing should be geared toward families and seniors. We talked about what the planning process will be and how we will engage the public for input and a potential timeline to make this all happen."
That timeline is at least two years out, he said.
"We have to go through the (tax credit) application process and there is a vetting period by all the authorities involved in that process," said Polk. "If that is successful, then it goes through all of the development review so there is a lot of work left to do."
A memorandum of understanding agreement with Northstar will be reviewed by the CCRA board later this month.
"The whole idea is to determine what kind of partnership Northstar will have with the CCRA," said Polk. "Tax credits is a very competitive process and Northstar has a good track record."
George, too, said Northstar is a good bet to move the project forward and once the CCRA and Northstar have a better idea of what the sites will look like, "We'll report back with the next steps. The plan is to potentially seek funding with tax credits in early 2016. Be assured (Northstar) is well versed in Florida and we'll begin presenting to the community and the board of the mixed uses."
The project has been on the burner for years and some low-income residents of Love Apartments say they are cautiously excited.
The 38-unit Love Apartments are not in the best shape, according to CCRA Manager Jesus Nino, who said the building on 1.6 acres has become too costly to renovate. He said demolishing and rebuilding it is the best solution.
The CCRA mission is to remove blight and redevelop an area from Sixth Street West on the west to 27th Street East on the east, and from Ninth Avenue on the north and 13th Avenue on the south.
The CCRA sent out two request for proposals in April with the goal of building the MLK facility first, tentatively with residential on top of commercial, and then focus on rebuilding the Love Apartments building, which the agency acquired from the city in 2006 with the goal of redevelopment at that time.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.