On Thursday, May 21, 2015, approximately 150 guests attended the ribbon cutting celebration for the beautiful, completely renovated, Landings at Cross Bayou in St. Petersburg. Prior to its gut rehab and renovation, the property was a vintage 1970’s public housing property with failing infrastructure.
The Landings at Cross Bayou was the first HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration project to close in Florida, preserving the HUD subsidy for very low income families. Norstar Development USA, LP and Pinellas County Housing Authority co-developed the project. Financial partners include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Florida Housing Finance Corporation, Raymond James, Pinellas County, Norstar Development USA and Pinellas County Housing Authority. The new property was designed by Bessolo Design Group and constructed by Brooks & Freund.
In addition to all of the partners that made Landings possible, other attendees and participants in the ribbon cutting included State Representative Kathleen Peters, representatives from the offices of Congressman Jolly and State Senator Jeff Brandes, HUD Field Office Director Alesia Scott-Ford, and PCHA board members Joseph Triolo, Angela Rouson, Michael Guju, and Alan Swartz. Rep. Peters praised Pinellas County Housing Authority and partners for a job well done, saying, “The people that have put this together have really worked on building a really, really strong community for some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Rick Cavalieri, Construction and Development Manager for Norstar, praised the housing authority’s efforts in creating a lasting, affordable community through what was a difficult and intense project. Alesia Scott-Ford made similar remarks, saying, “It is just great to see the power of partnership and putting the greater good at the very forefront of what we do,” adding, “This project was actually the very first RAD project to close in the state of Florida… To really pull one of these projects off is a challenge.” The Pinellas Sheriff’s Police Athletic League executive director, Neil Brickfield, spoke passionately about the importance of providing a safe home for youths to learn and grow, saying, “How many of us have a safe place to live every day? … What would it be like if you were trying to raise a family and you didn’t have a safe place, and then you got the opportunity to move to the Landings? That weight’s off your shoulders; Landings residents don’t have to worry about that part. They live in a newly renovated, clean, wonderful place.”
Landings at Cross Bayou is the result of public-private partnerships providing mixed-financing for 184 one, two and three bedroom apartment homes. The new property has income-based rents through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program. Each unit has Energy Star appliances, ceramic tile floors, cherry wood cabinets, central air conditioning with humidity control, and walk-in showers. On-site amenities include a spacious Community Center with warming kitchen, lounge area with TVs, library, business center with computers and internet access, and fitness center. The Youth Center will house the Pinellas Police Athletic League program and includes a computer lab, craft space, large gathering room, and a playground with basketball court.
Pinellas County Community Planning Manager, Frank Bowman said, “The renovations are magnificent… but the inclusion of the community space, and acknowledging the need for programs for children, opportunities and facilities to provide the residents with support services, shows that this is going to be a wonderful, wonderful community for hopefully another 50 years. Pinellas County is very, very proud to participate in this project and to work with our wonderful Pinellas County Housing Authority partner on a regular basis.”
The community is pet friendly and all buildings are 100% smoke-free. The community is professionally managed by Norstar Accolade Property Management. “We are tremendously grateful to all of our partners for making the complete revitalization and preservation of HUD subsidy for this property possible. Pinellas County continues to be in dire need of good, quality housing for low income individuals and families and we’re very thankful that we were able to preserve this property for many years to come.” said Debbie Johnson, PCHA’s executive director.
Landings was designed by Bessolo Design Group, Inc., who had previously worked on Pinellas Heights, an affordable senior-living community in Largo, and constructed by Brooks & Freund. Funding for the construction of Pinellas Heights was made possible by:
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Florida Housing Finance Corporation
- Raymond James
- Pinellas County Community Development
- Norstar Development USA, LLP
- Pinellas County Housing Authority
The Pinellas County Housing Authority was named the Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials 2014 Housing Authority of the Year. As the largest housing authority in Pinellas County, PCHA owns and operates over 1000 units of non-subsidized affordable rentals, in addition to federally subsidized rentals and rental subsidies, providing housing opportunities for over 8,000 county individuals. PCHA’s focus is on providing affordable housing through the development, ownership, and management of properties, and administration of rental assistance programs. For more information about PCHA, visit www.pinellashousing.com
Norstar Development USA, LP has been involved as lead developer in more than twenty (20) separate mixed-finance/mixed-income public housing authority transactions. Norstar had worked with Pinellas County Housing Authority and partners on Pinellas Heights and completed the 153-unit project last year.