All three proposed affordable housing projects in Bradenton failed to garner good lottery numbers for tax credits in the latest round of applications through the Florida Finance Housing Corp.
The redevelopment of the 1950s-era Love Apartments into Lincoln Village on the corner of Sixth Street Court East and Martin Luther King Boulevard East drew a lottery number of 70 out of 137 applications. Only about 20 projects are financed each cycle, so developers must draw a low number to even be considered.
North Star Development was selected by the Central Community Redevelopment Agency in March to demolish the 36-unit Love Apartments and build the new Lincoln Village with 50 units in two-story buildings.
Of the three failed projects, only North Star has come forward wanting to either try again in the next tax credit cycle or to pursue an alternate path. City administrator Carl Callahan said North Star will present those plans to the city council in the near future.
“They would like to move forward in the non-lottery phase, which is even more competitive in nature,” Callahan said. “It makes sense. I think we can tell a good story about everything we are doing out there between Hope VI, the MLK improvements and the Career Edge employment opportunities. The process must be consistent with the CRA plan and it is.”
The much-anticipated Village Lofts project on the old Manatee Inns site in the 1400 block of 14th Street West drew a number of 131. It was Beneficial’s second attempt at the yearly tax credit prize, which offsets developer financing to make an affordable housing project feasible.
At the end of 2015, Beneficial was given a year’s extension after failing to draw a good number. Now, officials said the city would likely not want to wait a third year to make something happen on the site. Beneficial still has a purchase agreement with the city, but is unlikely to pursue development without tax credit help.
“They could still buy under the purchase agreement, but I don’t think they are inclined to do that,” Callahan said. “It’s most likely done and it’s time to move forward, but it shows how difficult this lottery system is, especially when so much of the money is dependent on those tax credits.”
The purchase agreement will expire at the end of February. There was a lot of excitement from city officials and Village of the Arts residents over what the Village Lofts would do to improve village visibility and act as a key gateway into downtown. The project consisted of 80 live-and-work units geared toward attracting young professionals straight out of college, as well as new artists.
Beneficial is still in consideration for the mixed-use grocery store and affordable housing project at the corner of 13th Avenue West and First Street, the site of the failed grocery store and retail project.
A 100-unit affordable housing apartment complex on 8 acres of vacant land on the southwestern corner of 27th Avenue East and 26th Street East drew the best number of the three projects with a 51, but still well out of consideration.
Tampa developer Southport Development was selected to build Cadell’s Way and it was unclear whether the developer would ask for an extension for a second try at tax credits. A representative of Southport could not be reached for comment.
Council members have pushed for results but are growing weary of getting people’s hopes up when success is limited to about a 10 percent chance.
“People think the chances for success get better by applying more than once, but as we’ve seen here, they can get worse,” said Ward 2 Councilman Gene Brown. “It’s truly the luck of the draw.”
Callahan said the silver lining is that the $112,500 that was put aside for the three projects out of Community Block Development Grant and State Housing Initiative Partnership funds can be put toward other program goals.