Affordable apartments, offices proposed at St. Pete site Moffitt sought

PMG and Feldman Equities’ proposal is for the north half of the city-owned site at 800 First Ave. S.
Development team PMG Affordable and Feldman Equities say they've submitted an unsolicited offer to the city of St. Petersburg to buy and redevelop 800 First Ave. S into affordable and market-rate apartment towers, parking, office and retail space.
Development team PMG Affordable and Feldman Equities say they've submitted an unsolicited offer to the city of St. Petersburg to buy and redevelop 800 First Ave. S into affordable and market-rate apartment towers, parking, office and retail space. [ Courtesy of PMG Affordable and Feldman Equities ]
Published May 18, 2023|Updated May 18, 2023

A development group interested in creating affordable and market-rate housing, offices and shops has submitted an unsolicited proposal for a city-owned lot once considered for a Moffitt Cancer Center satellite campus.

Property Markets Group/PMG Affordable and Feldman Equities have offered the city $8 million for the block at 800 First Ave. S, according to a news release. The land is currently used as a surface parking lot.

It’s not the first time the site has lured unsolicited bids. The Moffitt proposal, which included an outpatient treatment center, hotel and residential tower was an unsolicited bid that was ultimately vetoed by Mayor Ken Welch for not having enough affordable housing.

“The key question was how we could maximize affordable housing on the site while making the overall project financially viable, which after a lot of analysis we were able to achieve,” Mack Feldman wrote in an email.

Feldman did not share a copy of the proposal with the Tampa Bay Times. The Times has submitted public records requests for all unsolicited proposals received by the city for the lot.

The proposal

In this proposal, a six-story affordable apartment building for 111 units would be part of the development’s first phase. Those units would be restricted for those earning 80% of area median income or below.

The group’s plan would be to transfer ownership of that building to the city so those units can stay affordable indefinitely. The city would take on the mortgage, upkeep and other obligations going forward.

The transfer would happen upon closing on the land for phase two, which includes building the market-rate residences and office tower. Feldman said that could take about two years of construction once the project is financed. He said he did not know what that mortgage amount would be.

Next to that would be a 29-story market-rate apartment building with 259 units and an 11-story office building with 110,000 square feet.

The development group is open to increasing office space. Feldman said a medical office is viable for the site.

A parking garage would be available for public use, especially during nights and weekends. The plan also includes 14,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

PMG and Feldman Equities’ proposal seeks to split the city-owned lot, which continues south of Second Avenue South.

Tampa-based developer Third Lake Partners purchased the neighboring lot at 800 Second Ave. S from United Insurance Holdings Corp. in November for $10.5 million, according to property records. The group also recently submitted an unsolicited proposal for the southern half of the city-owned lot at 800 First Ave. S.

PMG and Feldman Equities’ proposal does not compete with Third Lake’s proposal, Feldman said.

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Feldman said his group has not spoken with Third Lake representatives. The city lot borders the Historic Gas Plant District, a redevelopment of Tropicana Field that could be home to a new ballpark. Feldman said his group’s proposal maintains Second Avenue South as a through street to the ballpark as increased traffic is expected.

PMG led the affordable-housing components of Sugar Hill Community Partners’ unsuccessful proposal to redevelop the Historic Gas Plant District.

Unsolicited offers

PMG and Feldman Equities’ news release focused on how its proposal compares to the Moffitt project.

It stresses that Moffitt offered to build 18 affordable units (though later negotiated to build 35) and 52 workforce units for those making 120% of the area median income. A total of 400 residential units were proposed.

Welch’s goal while negotiating the Moffitt deal was for 30% of all units to be designated affordable and workforce housing. The PMG/Feldman proposal for a whole tower just for 111 affordable residences hits that target.

The Moffitt plan offered $5 million for the entire 4.5-acre parcel, while PMG/Feldman offers $8 million for a portion of the site. The lot was previously appraised at $21.1 million, according to the city.

The Moffitt proposal was the first project subject to the city’s new Community Benefits Agreement process. The new program requires some developments that receive city money or are significant in cost to reinvest in the community. Examples include building affordable and workforce housing or paying into a fund for those projects, investing to improve local schools, renovating historic buildings or providing job training.

Welch vetoed the Moffitt project even though it was approved by the newly formed Community Benefits Advisory Council.

Asked if his project has sufficient community benefit to warrant approval from the city, Feldman said he didn’t want to speculate on the city’s reaction.

“We closely followed the mayor’s, (community benefits advisory council’s), and other officials’ public comments on the property and believe we have put forward the best possible project for this site,” he said.