Manatee County’s Old Jail building in downtown Bradenton may soon be redeveloped into workforce housing.
Manatee County is seeking proposals for a long-term lease of the site at the Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W.
“The vision is to redevelop the vacant jail building space into a usable space, which may include rental apartments or condominium apartments with mixed income housing, with a suggested marketing of 25 percent or more of the units to millennial population for the upper floors, with a potential commercial storefront space on the lower floors,” the Invitation to Negotiate states.
The Old Jail building has six separate floors and a ground-floor lobby, which is shared by the Judicial Center and the Hensley Wing, according to the ITN.
“All costs for the development and integration with the existing buildings are expected to be borne by the proposer,” the invitation states.
The Riverwalk, Village of the Arts and Old Main Street are among the surrounding destinations highlighted in the document. It also notes that the site is within three miles of the county’s nine largest employers.
Housing at a site such as this in downtown Bradenton is “a lot of the things that we want,” said Ogden Clark, with the Manatee Millennial Movement.
“Housing that is connected to services and jobs that are available downtown, reducing reliance on automobiles to get everywhere,” he said. “A lot of nightlife is downtown. ... I think that it also connects some of the downtown communities like Village of the Arts and Ballard Park to people that are going to be living there.”
The possibility of converting the old jail into housing is “just one more way for us to think outside of the box and think what some housing options are for young professionals,” Clark said.
This could also help businesses grow, especially those downtown, with the additional people living there, Clark said.
“The more housing that is downtown, the more attractive I think that Manatee County becomes and our downtown becomes more attractive as well,” he said. “It is just a way to show that there is progress being made on the affordable housing front.”
Proposals are due 4 p.m. Sept. 15.