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Boley Centers seeks no-interest loan from St. Petersburg for affordable housing

ST. PETERSBURG — Boley Centers will learn this week whether the city will give it a no-interest loan to buy and rehabilitate a foreclosed apartment complex for affordable housing.

City Council members are expected to vote on the $1.4 million resolution Thursday. If approved, Boley plans to buy the former Fountain View Apartments at 425 and 430 13th Ave. S to provide permanent homes for the homeless, the poor and foster kids who have aged out of the system. The money will come from the city's Neighborhood Stabilization Program, funded by a $9.4 million federal grant designed to help stabilize communities affected by foreclosures and abandoned properties. Boley, a nonprofit agency, has already used a neighborhood stabilization loan to buy another rundown, foreclosed apartment complex in St. Petersburg.

The city itself has used funds from the program to buy 41 foreclosed or abandoned single-family properties in targeted areas such as Childs Park. As part of the project, 10 houses will be rehabilitated and six new ones built to replace others that have been demolished, said Stephanie Lampe, a senior coordinator with the city's housing and community development department. Additionally, 25 properties will go into a land bank for future construction of single family homes.

"After construction is completed, we hope to sell them to income-eligible households,'' she said.

Jack Humburg, director of housing development for Boley, said the new loan will provide funds to rehabilitate six two-bedroom and four one-bedroom units in one of the Fountain View buildings. The second building, with eight small efficiencies, will be demolished and four one-bedroom and two two-bedroom apartments will be built for former foster children.

Humburg said renovation is scheduled to begin in May at another apartment complex, Burlington Gardens at 3461 Burlington Ave. N, purchased with a $1.7 million zero-interest loan from the neighborhood stabilization program. The money also is being used to rehabilitate the property. Work is expected to be completed in about 90 days.

Fifteen of the 20 apartments will house the homeless, while the remainder will go to low-income households. Support services, including mental health counseling, case management and vocational services, will be provided to formerly homeless residents.

Humburg said a few tenants from the previous landlords still live at Burlington Gardens and Fountain View, but they will be allowed to remain at the refurbished properties. "We're putting on new roofs, energy efficient windows, new heating and cooling systems, water heaters — all energy-efficient — and making exterior improvements to meet the city's current land use requirements,'' he said.

Construction at both apartment complexes is being done by General Home Development, a company with offices on 49th Street S.

Boley, which assists people with mental disabilities as well as youth and the homeless in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Sarasota counties, will have no problem finding residents for the new housing. "We have a waiting list,'' Humburg said.

Partners in the project are two other nonprofit agencies, Family Resources and Catholic Charities.

Boley also is about to begin construction of 16 units at 1007 Arlington Ave. N. The project, financed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the city, will be the agency's "first truly green development,'' Humburg said. The building will have a metal roof and stained concrete floors instead of carpeting. Residents with mental disabilities will live in the one-bedroom, one-bath units. Construction is expected to take about 10 months.

Humburg hopes the loan for the agency's latest project at Fountain View Apartments will be approved. "We think having local ownership and having social services provided to the residents and the improvement to the general look and maintenance of the property will help improve the neighborhood,'' he said.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at wmoore@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2283.

Boley Centers seeks no-interest loan from St. Petersburg for affordable housing 03/30/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 1:47pm]
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