Connect Bradenton submits sole proposal to transform Old Jail building into housing

Manatee County’s Old Jail building could soon be redeveloped into housing.
Manatee County’s Old Jail building could soon be redeveloped into housing. File photo

Manatee County’s Old Jail building could be transformed into multifamily housing and potentially some commercial space after the county received one response to its proposal to turn the vacant building into housing.

The Croghan Company, doing business as Connect Bradenton, submitted the sole proposal to Manatee County to transform the more than 80,000-square-foot Old Jail building from its current condemned state into workforce housing. Proposals were due at 4 p.m. Thursday.

“The request was for multifamily, and that’s what we are doing,” said Bernard Croghan with Connect Bradenton.

At last year’s Manatee Chamber of Commerce annual retreat, Croghan said he heard a presentation by the Manatee Young Professionals “about the plight and lack of millennial housing.”

“I got very, very interested in the subject, and it wasn’t long after that this building came up,” he said. “That’s why I’m here.”

Manatee County officials will now review the proposal, according to Joy Leggett-Murphy, property acquisition division manager.

“We don’t have a timeline,” she said.

After nearly 10 years of being vacant, the county initiated an “invitation to negotiate“ process in July for a long-term lease of the Judicial Center site, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton. The building’s top floors still resemble what was once a jail — complete with individual jail cells.

“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 proposal states.

Claire Aronson: 941-745-7024, @Claire_Aronson