ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A proposal from Moffitt Cancer Center made back in May to build a 75,000-square-foot facility in downtown St. Petersburg has officially been rejected by the city mayor.
In an announcement Friday, the office of Mayor Ken Welch marked the decision by saying it was determined the TPA/Moffitt project "does not provide sufficient community benefit."
According to the mayor, the proposal, even with guidance and recommendations from the community, didn't address the administration's goals for affordable and workforce housing on projects developed on city-owned land.
The initial proposal reportedly included 10 percent affordable housing, which was negotiated to 15 percent and then up to 17.5 percent.
“I appreciate the TPA/Moffitt team’s work to increase the level of community benefits within their proposal. However, our city faces continued challenges with affordable and workforce housing access and community consensus is clear on the priority of housing as a component of equitable economic development,” Welch said in a statement.
“We must ensure we are strategically and equitably utilizing City assets to respond to community needs. This decision reflects my administration’s intentionality on the issue of equitable economic development.”
Negotiations with the TPA/Moffitt group resulted in a final proposal of 400 total residential units, with 70 affordable and workforce housing units. Half of those were reserved for those earning at or below 80 percent of the area median income and half for those earning at or below 120 percent of area median income.
“This was a strategic decision based on community benefit, shared priorities and the significant value of the subject city land. The proposed project included many attractive components, including access to a 75,000 square-foot cancer center," Welch said in the statement. "While we welcome the addition of this facility and hoped we could successfully negotiate this plan to meet our community benefit goals, negotiations did not meet needed affordable housing.
"We hope future opportunities can be identified to further plans for such a center in our city.”
As of now, there aren't any next steps set up but the city does have options. Those options include continued use as parking while going over future opportunities.