2004

Part of the Civitas redevelopment plan, derailed in January by critical county commissioners, is proceeding with special financing given ``a positive spin'' by the county administration.

The Civitas company has turned over its $2.7 million contract to buy about an acre in Tampa to The Gatehouse Group, a developer planning to build a $20 million low-income housing complex.

Hillsborough County administrators have pushed the deal forward by working around a missed deadline to find $300,000 in public financing and then trying to smooth the political path ahead, an indication of challenges posed by Civitas fallout.

called the project a ``great first step'' in redeveloping Tampa's area.

The project, called The Prado Apartments, would be a nine-story, 146-unit building with some town homes and a parking garage. It is strikingly similar to what Civitas proposed for the site, owned since 1986 by a company in Jupiter.

The property, was slated to be part of a land swap between Civitas and the authority - until that deal fell through when the county balked at tax support.

steering the land contract to Gatehouse, a Massachusetts company, was the best way to guarantee affordable housing

``There are so many high- end condominium projects planned,'' ``There is a need for work force housing and these guys do great work. `

`We have no financial connections with [Gatehouse]. All we will get out of this is the satisfaction that high-quality affordable housing will be built in Tampa.''

Civitas, which worked secretly for two years on plans that extended beyond the c Park, owns or has contracts to buy many properties in the target area.

Gatehouse firm worked with Civitas on the c Park plan and would have built some replacement homes for public housing residents if the original deal had gone through.

Gatehouse still wants to get in early on plans to redevelop Hopefully, this will be the start of something great.''

County Finds Financing

Civitas and Gatehouse finalized their deal in late February. By mid-March, , Gatehouse decided on its plans for the site - and they included state tax credits that hinged on a commitment of at least $200,000 from local government

 

 

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