By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor
The $480 million Encore development’s timeline could undergo some changes, as Tampa was the only one of six finalist cities that was denied a share of the $122 million Choice Neighborhood Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The loss of the $23.3 million federal housing grant does not put an end to the project; according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, veteran commercial real estate broker Brenda Dohring Hicks—involved in the partnership formed for the project between the Tampa Housing Authority and Bank of America Community Development Corp.—believes that the loss of the grant merely stops the development from moving at the same pace. A letter of complaint, drafted by the Tampa Housing Authority, has been addressed to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and U.S. Representative Kathy Castor.
This week, Kathy Castor has made public that a $759,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was awarded to help revitalize East Tampa, a grant that could lure a grocery store to the area; according to the Business Journal, the Encore development alone has so far received approximately $40 million in federal funds.
The Encore development, formerly known as Central Park Village, is a public-private partnership to redevelop the blighted core of the eastern portion of downtown Tampa, at the gateway to Ybor City and the Channel District. The project, aiming at becoming a national model and case study for sustainable urban development, affordable/workforce housing and job creation through mobility, consists of 143 apartment homes in the first stage, 156 senior apartments in the second, followed by another round of 146 apartment homes and 165 seniors apartments. Due to the loss of the federal grant, the 156-unit seniors housing development will probably suffer from a slight delay. Hotel and retail are also being considered for the 40-acre mixed-use project, while a supermarket—that has yet to be named—is already under contract at Encore.