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City housing program has 11 lots up for sale

(ran South, East editions)

The city is offering 11 vacant lots for sale to qualified developers and other interested applicants.

Request for proposal forms or RFP are due Friday. Only a handful of applicants attended a mandatory proposal orientation meeting Aug. 23, said Thomas deYambert, the city's housing and community development manager. First dibs on the lots go to that group. Housing officials will negotiate prices once they narrow the list of applicants and may agree to finance up to 80 percent of the construction.

Working to Improve Our Neighborhoods, a project aimed at creating affordable housing, acquired the properties from banks and other donors, including the county. The city tore down buildings on the properties _ a relatively recent procedure, said housing coordinator Sophia Sorolis.

Three of the lots are on Grove Street N. One is in Historic Kenwood. The rest are spread out on St. Petersburg's south side. The lots range in value from $1,000 to $12,500. A house at 851 10th Ave. S escaped demolition and is also for sale.

The WIN program lends money to people in the low- and middle-income range. The $30-million financing budget comes from city, state and federal sources, deYambert said. "It's not just a poor people's program. It's for everybody in the city."

Builders can occupy the homes or sell them within a year of completion. Occupants may earn no higher than $71,250 per household for a family of four.

Kenwood seeks

historic designation

If Kenwood residents get their wish, they won't be the only ones calling their neighborhood "historic." An unusual partnership with the city could open the way for national historic district registration for Historic Kenwood and the portion of Uptown bordering Round Lake.

If a state board approves a $36,000 matching grant, the neighborhoods will be able to conduct detailed surveys, a necessary step in achieving the designation. The cost of hiring consultants for the survey has derailed previous efforts.

The city has agreed to contribute one-third of the cost, or $12,000, with the state and the neighborhoods splitting the other two-thirds. Residents of neighborhoods registered nationally as historic landmarks can earn $20,000 in tax credits, said Bob Jeffrey, the city's manager of urban design and historic preservation. Anyone renovating a property also can earn a 10-year freeze on property taxes.

National registration also affords more freedom to homeowners than the more restrictive city standard for historic designation. Homeowners who forego the tax credits are not subject to the same regulations limiting the kinds of improvements they can make.

"This way you can get all the benefits but don't have to follow rules if you don't want to," Jeffrey said. "You can paint your house purple or bulldoze it _ if you can pay for it yourself."

Neighborhoods settle

on boundaries

A longstanding boundary confusion ends Tuesday when Disston Heights turns over four square blocks to neighboring Holiday Park. At the city's request, Disston had assumed the area between 30th and 34th avenues N and 62nd and 66th streets. A neighborhood association board member notified the city that the area actually is part of Holiday Park. Disston meets at 7:30 p.m. at Gladden Park Recreation Center, 3901 30th Ave. N.

Monticello Motel

to be sold

The Monticello Motel will be sold later this month, capping months of uncertainty over the vacant property at 1700 Fourth St. N. Once a modest but tidy vacation destination, the motel doubled as an adult living facility for several years. The sale to an undisclosed buyer will be completed by the end of September, said agent Eric Sconberg of BMC Realty, the real estate arm of Brasota Mortgage Co. in Bradenton.