Tampa, Fla. – Affordable housing in the Uptown/University Area is on the way to becoming reality in 2022 in the form of Uptown Sky, a 61-unit multi-family apartment home development to be built by Blue Sky Communities in partnership with University Area CDC (Community Development Corporation).
An official groundbreaking will be held at the corner of 13603 N 12th Street and Fletcher Avenue on Tuesday, Sept. 21 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
“Quality attainable housing is a major problem in our community, and a substantial number of our residents are cost burdened in their current housing situation. This will empower residents to live, work and thrive in the area they call home,” said Sarah Combs, University Area CDC CEO and executive director.
These affordable apartment homes, to be located at the intersection of 12th Street and Fletcher Avenue, will benefit low- and moderate-income families by improving the quality of their homes, eliminating the cost burden, increasing access to transit and increasing access to services.
Households that can benefit from living here will fall into three income categories: 18 units at 50 percent AMI; 30 units at 60 percent AMI, 13 units at 70 percent AMI. The affordability period is 30 years.
“For four years, Blue Sky has been working to find a way to build more housing in this area. Together with University Area CDC and other community leaders, we finally made it happen! It should be the first of many,” noted Shawn Wilson, president and CEO of Blue Sky Communities.
Uptown Sky is funded by approximately $7.3 million of four percent Housing Credit equity syndicated by Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, with Aetna, a CVS Health company as the investor, $9.25 million of Multifamily Mortgage Revenue bonds issued by the Housing Finance Authority of Hillsborough County and purchased by Truist Bank, as well as a $5.82 million low-interest loan from Hillsborough County through its HOPE and SHIP Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Vice Chair of the Board of County Commissioners and Chair of the Affordable Housing Advisory Board, Commissioner Kimberly Overman has been diligently working to provide resources to expand affordable housing units in the County. Upon hearing of the project, Commissioner Overman said, “This project brings us one step closer to filling the gap we have in meeting the needs of those who have limited income, but should not have limited opportunities, to provide a safe, clean and stable home for themselves and their families.”
The Uptown/University Area Community is an 864-acre underserved residential/commercial neighborhood located on the northern edge of unincorporated Hillsborough County. The neighborhood is blighted by vacant and abandoned lots. Approximately 75 percent of the 10,500 residents represent minority groups, primarily Hispanic (39 percent), and African-American (33 percent). In addition, more than 19 percent of the residents are veterans.
The per capita income in this area is far below the County average and nearly 60 percent of the residents live below the poverty level. Unemployment is approximately twice that of the County. Many residents struggle with a lack of education, (32 percent lack a high school education) and language barriers.
“We know that housing insecurity can have a major impact on a person’s health and well-being. As part of our continued commitment to address social determinants of health, we are investing in underserved communities throughout Florida to ensure that individuals and families have access to quality, affordable housing,” said Richard Weiss, President of the Florida Market for Aetna, a CVS Health company. “We are proud to work with Blue Sky, University Area CDC and Hillsborough County leaders to bring affordable apartment homes to the Uptown/University Area and help make a meaningful impact in the lives of this community’s residents.”
The Uptown/University Area, one of the densest communities in Hillsborough County, has been deemed a targeted redevelopment area by the County with five census tracts operating in opportunity zones. In addition, this area is part of the Innovation Partnership District.
Serving the community for more than 23 years, University Area CDC provides support for thousands of Tampa residents through holistic programming, adult education and resource assistance. Its primary mission is the redevelopment and sustainability of at-risk neighborhoods in the Uptown/University area, surrounding University of South Florida’s Tampa campus. More information about University Area CDC, a 501(c)(3) public/private partnership, is available by calling 813.558.5212 and by visiting uacdc.org.
Blue Sky Communities was founded in 2012 and ever since has called Tampa, Florida its home. Blue Sky has grown to become number 30 on Affordable Housing Finance Magazine’s Top 50 list of the biggest Developers in the USA. Blue Sky helps local communities achieve their Affordable Housing Development goals. Blue Sky also provides long-term property management services for all its Developments, demonstrating its long-term commitment. Our multi-faceted team are experts in all aspects of Tax Credit Development, both 9 percent and 4 percent. This includes the completion of five prior Affordable Housing complexes in Hillsborough County. www.blueskycommunities.com