Sugar Hill Community Partners to include 50% affordable housing in Trop proposal
Tropicana site. Image via City of St. Pete.

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The firm has also added three new partners to focus on affordable housing development.

Sugar Hill Community Partners, a known development group seeking to redevelop the Historic Gas Plant District, or Tropicana Field as it’s more commonly known, will include plans to ensure 50% of all housing units are affordable or workforce, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Sugar Hill will submit its full proposal to the city of St. Petersburg on Friday, which is the deadline for proposal submissions on redevelopment bids on the 86-acre site.

The group also announced it has added three companies to the development team, including Blue Sky Communities, Property Markets Group Affordable and the St. Petersburg Housing Authority, all of which will work on the affordable housing portion of the redevelopment plan.

Sugar Hill previously submitted a redevelopment proposal for the Tropicana Field site under the former St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman administration, but Kriseman selected another developer, Midtown Development.

Kriseman’s successor, now-Mayor Ken Welch, scrapped the entire process and launched a new request for proposal in June, in which he called for greater investment in affordable and workforce housing, a staple of his administration.

Welch originally intended to select a development team sometime in late 2022, but pushed the deadline back to 2023 following Hurricane Ian and a request for more time from the Tampa Bay Rays, who play at Tropicana Field and are expected to play a role in the redevelopment.

Blue Sky Communities is a Tampa-based development firm dedicated to affordable housing projects. The group opened a new affordable apartment community earlier this year in South St. Pete with 65 units. Among them, 10 serve residents between 0% to 30% of the area median income (AMI), 42 are for those earning at or below 60% AMI, and 13 serve those at or below 80% AMI.

The firm is also currently working on another South St. Pete project, an 85-unit workforce housing apartment complex for those 55 years old and older.

Property Markets Group is a New York-based firm that, in 2019, submitted an unsolicited proposal to redevelop the city of St. Pete’s Municipal Services building, including apartments and retail. Then-Mayor Kriseman ultimately selected an alternative proposer, but Welch paused the selection process when he took office to further review options.

The group’s fairly new affordable housing division will partner with Sugar Hill on the Tropicana Field site redevelopment proposal.

The St. Petersburg Housing Authority serves approximately 4,000 qualifying low-income households in St. Pete through three public housing programs — public housing, affordable housing and housing choice vouchers.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.



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