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Apartments with workforce housing planned for Raytheon site in St. Petersburg

The developer purchased the industrial site in 2021.
 
A rendering of the apartment complex proposed for the former Raytheon site in St. Petersburg.
A rendering of the apartment complex proposed for the former Raytheon site in St. Petersburg. [ Porter Development LLC ]
Published Jan. 11, 2023

A Clearwater-based developer wants to build a 1,058-unit apartment complex on the former site of the Raytheon defense firm in St. Petersburg.

Porter Development LLC announced plans to develop the 29-acre vacant property at 1501 72 St. N near Tyrone Square Mall in a media release Monday.

The project would be built in three phases and will include 300 units of income-restricted workforce housing. Half of the workforce units would be for renters making less than 80% of the area median income and the other half would be for those making less than 120% of the AMI.

Les Porter, president of Porter Development, said the property has sat vacant since 2006.

“I think it’s time to put something there that is productive and beneficial to the community,” he said. “We’re adding a large supply of units as well as the workforce component which is something that is sorely needed to help with the rising cost of housing.”

Porter Development purchased the property in 2021. The company initially wanted to build a sports complex on the site. But it withdrew that proposal in May 2021 after receiving pushback from neighbors.

St. Petersburg City Council member Copley Gerdes represents District 1 where the site is located. He said he was glad to see the developer change course to meet the needs and desires of the community.

“I’m excited for this plan,” Gerdes said. “It creates density in District 1 without impacting the neighborhood character.”

The site is currently zoned as industrial. The developer said it plans to take advantage of House Bill 1339, which allows cities to expand zoning options for workforce and affordable housing. Though the bill only requires developers to reserve 10% of units for workforce housing, Gerdes said the city passed its own ordinance that raised that threshold to 30%.

Porter Development is expected to submit a site plan to the city in the next week and it will go before city council in March. If it is approved, construction could start by late summer.