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Bradenton Housing Authority, Central CRA partner on new affordable housing projects

BRADENTON -- The Bradenton Housing Authority on Thursday approved a resolution to partner with the Central Community Redevelopment Agency on the proposed redevelopment of the Love Apartments and a new mixed-use development in East Bradenton.

The proposal is to build 30 residential units and 16,000 square-feet of commercial space on a 1.2-acre parcel at Third Street East and Ninth Avenue East (Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue) and then move Love residents, largely managed by the CCRA, there. The next step would be to demolish the deteriorating 36-unit Love complex on Sixth Street Court East and Ninth Avenue East to build a new 40-unit affordable-housing complex.

The CCRA released a request for proposal for both locations under one project in April. According to Planning and Community Director Tim Polk, the project is receiving interest from national, regional and local developers.

"Because we are receiving so much interest on this project, we may extend the time period on the RFP to give some developers more time to put together proposals," said Polk. "Right now, I expect proposals will begin

the review process after the next 20 days, but that will depend on how much of a time extension we want to give."

CRA Manager Jesus Nino said the CCRA approached the BHA to be a partner, "because it made sense. We both deal with low-income residents. The goal of the BHA is to transition their residents off of subsidized housing and into affordable housing. So this partnership would let us work together in transitioning their residents to our residents."

Residents in CCRA affordable housing units do not receive public assistance like those in the BHA programs, but do pay lower rents.

Polk said the partnership with the BHA "gives the developer more leverage. They would be able to use some of the (Department of Housing and Urban Development) programs to make it happen since we almost serve the same residents."

Polk said the BHA would also play a role in selecting the final developer.

BHA chair Napoleon Mills said he supports the partnership, but is more interested in hearing from city officials as to improvements on MLK Avenue. Mills said it was important to continue those improvements in order to attract future residents as well as potential developers for other areas of East Bradenton.

Ward 5 Councilman Harold Byrd Jr., the city's liaison to the BHA, said the Florida Department of Transportation has completed a traffic study of the Ninth Avenue East and 15th Street East traffic signal and is holding a June 16 public meeting to discuss possible improvements. They include the possibility of removing the light and installing a roundabout.

"As you look at eastern development along MLK, there should be some concerns about that intersection, because it will affect MLK big time," said Byrd.

Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.

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