Tackling Affordable Housing in the Bay

Tackling Affordable Housing in the Bay

Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read August 2019   Growth in the Tampa Bay region has been twofold, with a  significant boom in the economy and the population. As the population grows so does the need for more affordable housing options in the region. While there has been a notable increase in the development of luxury apartments and multifamily units, which are popping up all over Downtown, there is a notable deficit of affordable housing options. Mayor Jane Castor, her administration and community organizations like the Tampa Housing Authority recognize that they must work together to find- a solution for this problem.

Since her election in April, Mayor Castor has identified access to affordable housing solutions as one of her top priorities, as noted when she spoke with Invest:. “In reality, the most pressing issues in our community are transportation, affordable housing and workforce development.” She has since taken action to address the housing issue with the recent formation of the Affordable Housing Advisory Team as part of her “Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow” transition. The role of the advisory team will be to ensure home ownership for all residents in Tampa regardless of economic status. It  will be one of five advisory teams guiding the mayor’s strategic vision for addressing key issues in Tampa Bay. 

One of the members of the Affordable Housing Advisory Team is Leroy Moore, the senior vice resident and chief operating officer for the Tampa Housing Authority. The Authority is not only focused on providing housing assistance to low-income residents. Its role has evolved over the years to better address the affordable housing issue in the region. Invest: recently spoke with Moore, who discussed how the Authority is addressing this need. “The Housing Authority has evolved to not only manage affordable housing, but also to redevelop this housing into real estate that functions as more than just a roof over someone’s head. We consistently ask ourselves what else does a community need? A community needs jobs, quality food and transportation accessibility, which brings in the need for collaboration with transportation agencies in the region. We can meet the needs of the community by developing housing, especially affordable and attainable housing, around accessible transit options. Great transit translates into better housing costs.” 

The Authority’s actions to tackle affordable housing include the redevelopment of a 28-acre superblock of public housing that will be known as the Encore District. In his discussion with Invest:, Moore spoke about the Authority’s approach to this development and how it differs from the original construction., “Seventy-five years ago, the Tampa Housing Authority developed a 28-acre superblock of public housing on the doorstep of what is now Downtown. Seventy-five years later, we are redeveloping that site and realizing that its potential today is far greater than what was ever imagined back then. Instead of just having a 28-acre single-use affordable housing community, we now have 12 city blocks of diverse development called the Encore District.” He continued: “Encore will be a LEED Gold neighborhood development community. All the buildings have a commitment to be LEED Silver or higher. We replaced the affordable and workforce housing and increased the number of affordable units on that exact same footprint. We are also adding other uses like hotels, museums, schools, market-rate housing and grocery stores all within the same 28-acre area.”

The need for more affordable housing is not an issue that will resolve itself and will only continue to manifest into a larger challenge as the population in Tampa Bay grows. The solution is not clear-cut, but community leaders like Mayor Castor and Moore are working to find actionable answers.  

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.tampagov.net/

 

https://www.thafl.com/

Buccaneers Hope Offseason Moves Score Touchdown

Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read August 2019   There is perhaps nothing more synonymous with Tampa Bay than its football team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since officially joining the NFL in 1976, the Bucs have become a staple in the Tampa Bay region. The team’s history includes the highest highs and lowest lows, from a dismal 0-14 inaugural season to a Super Bowl title in 2003. Now only weeks away from the start of the 2019-2020 season, the Bucs are looking to bounce back from last year’s tumultuous campaign that resulted in a 5-11 win-loss record and a last-place divisional finish for a second straight year.

The Bucs have not allowed last year’s disappointing season to distract them from what could possibly be a comeback season in the making. After the final loss last season, the Bucs dismissed head coach Dirk Koetter. They have since hired two-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year Bruce Arians, who has been swift in his moves to strengthen the team’s defense and instill a winning culture within the locker room. The Buccaneers added some significant depth to their defense with their 2019 first round pick, linebacker Devin White, and with the addition of five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Ndamukong Suh.

While the city of Tampa Bay is eager to see the team return to its glory days as Super Bowl champs, there may be no one more focused on having a winning season this year than Bucs’ quarterback Jameis Winston. The national championship and Heisman Trophy winner has had what can be best described as an inconsistent NFL career. Entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, the former first round pick will undoubtedly look to use this season as his campaign to remain the team’s franchise quarterback. 

The Buccaneers franchise and fanbase can also look forward to an improved Raymond James Stadium, which underwent a $160 million renovation in the offseason. The stadium, and more broadly the City of Tampa Bay, will be home to Super Bowl LV in 2021, marking the fifth time Tampa Bay has hosted football’s biggest event. Invest: Tampa Bay spoke with Brian Ford, COO of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who discussed what it means to host this event once again. “It’s going to be Tampa’s fifth Super Bowl, which is great when you think about all the many, very exciting cities that can host the Super Bowl. We’re very proud of that. Tampa hosts a ton of big events, and we do them well. We worked closely with Rob Higgins of the Tampa Sports Commission, Eric Hart and Mickey Farrell of the Tampa Sports Authority, Commissioner Ken Hagan of Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa in putting together the best bid and best format for this mammoth event. When you sit down and look at it, it’s truly remarkable that so many in Pinellas County and Hillsborough County all came together for one event. And there’s no way that we would’ve been offered this opportunity if we hadn’t made a major investment in the renovations, of which we’re also very proud.”

The only thing that could make hosting a Super Bowl better for the Tampa Bay region would be to see the home team competing in it. While that may be a long shot at this point, the Buccaneers will have this season and next to prove they are a franchise that can compete at the highest level. It’s still early, but all signs seem to be pointing to a brighter future for the Tampa team. 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

https://www.buccaneers.com/