TAMPA — Ben Carson, the former Republican presidential candidate and current secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be in Tampa on Friday morning to tour the Encore redevelopment project.
Carson is expected to visit at least one apartment complex and also the St. James Episcopal Church, a century-old structure that is being restored and converted into a job center and, eventually, an African-American museum.
He is expected to tout Encore as an example of how public-private partnerships can be used to revitalize aging public housing projects.
Encore was built after the demolition of Central Park Village, a public housing complex on the edge of downtown Tampa. It was developed through a partnership between the Tampa Housing Authority and Banc of America Community Development Corp., the development arm of Bank of America.
It includes two buildings for seniors and two apartment blocks that mix tenants paying market-rate rents with those whose rents are subsidized through the federal government.
The project’s master plan includes a hotel, grocery store and other retail businesses. But developers interested in buying Encore lots for a hotel and a grocery store have come and gone in recent years.
Housing Authority officials say that will change following the sale of two lots earmarked for market-rate housing.
The Independent at Encore — a five-story building with 266 apartments — is being built by Transwestern. The Houston-based developer paid $4.6 million for a 2.1-acre lot.
And California-based Legacy Partners recently agreed to the $4.1 million purchase of another Encore lot where it plans to build a 224-unit apartment complex.