Tampa–Sage Partners has started work on an unusual redevelopment and new construction project in downtown Tampa that will create Metro 510, a 120-unit multifamily housing property. The apartment building itself will be new construction, but the project will also incorporate the adaptive re-use of the St. Paul AME Church as its clubhouse and amenity building. The St. Paul AME Church was built in 1913 and is listed as a local historic landmark by the city of Tampa.
The project will feature an outdoor sprayground, indoor play court, “tween” room, fitness center, business center and elevated exterior courtyards. The historic stained glass windows in the church will be restored and backlit, thus maintaining them as public art.
Metro 510 is an affordable workforce housing project. “This project is the first ever workforce housing community built in downtown Tampa,” Brian Hammond, a principal with Urban Studio Architects, which designed Metro 510, tells MHN. “The project target market is people in hospitality, healthcare, government and financial sectors, as well as first responders.”
Sage is not new to affordable housing development. It recently completed the renovation of the Viridian Apartments in St. Petersburg, an affordable independent-living seniors housing complex, and has otherwise participated in the development and management of over 10,000 affordable units located throughout Florida.
The project comes at a time of increasing demand for apartments, affordable or otherwise. Like many other markets around the country, the Tampa Bay apartment market is well on the mend, with vacancies dropping from 10 percent in mid-2009 to 8 percent by December 2010, according to Real Data Apartment Market Research. For now there’s a relative dearth of projects in the pipeline–which developers such as Sage Partners are beginning to fill.
Only about 1,200 new apartment units were completed in the Tampa Bay area during the first half of 2010, reports Real Data. A similar number, 1,168, were under construction in the second half of last year.