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This Bradenton land was contaminated decades ago. Affordable housing will clean it up

A 32-year-old environmental hazard cleared the way for a developer to receive several economic incentives from the state of Florida thanks to an official brownfield designation.

The 96-unit Oaks at Lakeside apartment complex is set to be developed by HTG Creekside on 16.8 acres of land just west of John H. Marble Park in the 3500 block of State Road 70. The project was previously called the Oaks at Creekside.

A portion of the site was contaminated by a nearby dry cleaner that spilled “industrial chlorinated dry cleaning solvents, their byproducts, and metals” in 1987. The plume spread to the Oaks at Lakeside property through shallow groundwater, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

“This designation will allow them to tap into some additional incentives to be able to redevelop the property,” said Geri Lopez, director of the county’s Redevelopment and Economic Opportunity Department.

According to the developer’s application to classify the area as a brownfield, redeveloping that land comes at “great legal and financial risk.” Under Florida Statute, the developer of a brownfield site is eligible for certain tax breaks, grants and various exemptions to ease the financial burden of cleaning and redeveloping the land.

When commissioners approved the $18.2 million development plan in May, they spoke highly of the developer for improving the county’s affordable housing stock. On Tuesday, board members thanked the developer again for their dedication in cleaning the site after voting unanimously to approve the brownfield designation.

Oaks at Creekside render.JPG
A planned affordable housing complex called the Oaks at Lakeside looks to bring 96 units to the 3500 block of State Road 70. The Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a brownfield designation for the 16.8 acres of land, allowing the developer to become eligible for economic incentives from the State of Florida. Provided photo

“Thank you for cleaning the site and jumping through the hoops to get it done,” Commissioner Betsy Benac said.

The Housing Trust Group is a Miami-based developer that has built several affordable housing developments throughout Florida. HTG also built The Addison, an affordable housing complex at 702 Sixth Ave. E. in Bradenton, where prices range from $299 to $1,325 a month depending on income.

“Thank you to the commissioners for having us here today and I thank you for allowing HTG Creekside to move forward with this development and provide much-needed affordable housing in the Manatee County area,” said Brett Brumund, an attorney representing HTG.

HTG officials say they plan to break ground on the Oaks at Lakeside project in October.

Ryan Callihan is the Bradenton Herald’s County Reporter, covering local government and politics. On the weekends, he also covers breaking news. Ryan is a graduate of USF St. Petersburg.
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