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Tampa takes step to increase affordable housing with grand opening of new community

Affordable housing
Posted at 6:26 PM, Sep 29, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay area continues to experience high demand for housing and rising prices, on top of a growing need for affordable housing. On Wednesday, the city of Tampa took another step forward with the grand opening of the Boulevards at West River in West Tampa.

Jerome Ryans, the Tampa Housing Authority’s president, and CEO highlighted the new community: three buildings, 371 units, and a combination of affordable and market rates.

“Affordable housing in this city and this country is a premium right now,” said Ryans. “We’re trying to work toward solving the needs of affordable housing needs in this community as a whole.”

At last count, the Tampa Housing Authority (THA) says there were more than 7,000 families on the current waitlist at THA, which it says speaks to the growing need for more affordable housing communities in the city of Tampa.

The THA says the Boulevards at West River represent the next step in West River’s evolution into a multi-generational, mixed-income community, and includes three mixed-use apartment buildings serving residents across all income brackets.

“Years ago, this was one of the most crime-ridden communities in the city, probably one of the most crime-ridden communities in the country,” said Ryans. “We made a decision that we needed to do better. We needed to tear it down and start all over again because the days of building public housing in the way they built it over the years, it’s not going to happen anymore.”

Staff from the THA and Boulevards at West River broke down the unit pricing for the new community. At the market rate, a one-bedroom will run about $1,080, while for subsidized housing, a one-bedroom runs about $880, with residents paying a percentage of their income.

Ryans spoke on how the rates compare to other THA communities.

“Right in line, everybody that’s moving into subsidized housing, they pay only 30 percent of their monthly income. That’s it,” said Ryans.

Ryans also shared how the area is expected to grow even more.

“We’re going to have a grocery store over here. We’re going to have restaurants here. We’re going to have office space here, so it’s one of those situations where it makes sense for this community, and we’ve been working on this for several years,” said Ryans.

Mayor Jane Castor says she has a goal of 10,000 affordable units by 2027. The Mayor said she thinks the complex will have a great economic impact.

“The areas that we’re focusing on are workforce development, mobility, transportation, and housing affordability, so if we are providing residences close to the source of high-paying jobs, you can take transportation off of your budget plate for the month,” said Castor. “So we’re really focusing on making sure that we have those well-rounded solutions for our residents that are affordable.”

The Boulevards is in partnership with Related Urban Development Group.