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Leaders consider bringing "skinny", more affordable homes to St. Pete

More affordable homes could become an option
Posted at 6:24 PM, Feb 23, 2017

City leaders in St. Pete are considering a unique way to bring more affordable housing to the area.

Members of the Housing Services Committee for the city of St. Pete are discussed bringing “skinny”homes into parts of South St. Pete during a meeting earlier this month.

“Skinny” homes are 1,300-2,000 sq. ft. homes that would include three bedrooms and two bathrooms and cost between $150-300,000.

The city would offer up foreclosed, vacant lots to private, for and non-profit companies to build the homes on.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Liane Jamason, a real estate agent for Smith and Associates Real Estate in St. Pete, “I mean, it kind of reminds me of townhomes and townhomes for me have been so hot in the last 12 months I’ve sold more in 12 months than I’ve sold in my 10 years of real estate.”

So far leaders are only discussing the concept and say no lots or areas have been chosen for the project, although Councilman Karl Nurse says the area around Bartlett Park could be a potential spot.

There are a handful of vacant lots there that neighbors like Mae Jackson are ready to see go.

“I don’t see nothing but empty spaces,” she said, “ready for something to be built on it.”

Right now a single family home in that neighborhood can price anywhere from $57,000 to $277,000.  

Members of the Development Review Commission must first approve the concept when it's presented in April before it goes back to city council members for a vote.

If all goes well, a public hearing to discuss the issue could be scheduled for as early as May.

Nurse says former Tampa councilman developed a similar concept in the West Tampa neighborhood before the recession which proved successful.

According to Zillow’s most recent housing report for January 2017, the average home value in St. Pete is around $173,000.

However, Jamason says finding a home under $300,000 is a challenge.

“It’s tough for middle incomes,” she said, “they’re finding themselves in bidding wars.”

She’d be willing to show her customers “skinny” homes in South St. Pete if leaders decide on the concept.

As for Jackson, she’d likes the concept of replacing the vacant lots with brand new homes.

“I would like to see a house like that built,” she said pointing to a picture of an example home, “that’s a good house there.”

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