Just in time for Thanksgiving, residents have started returning to Pinellas County Housing Authority’s (PCHA) newly renovated Landings at Cross Bayou in St. Petersburg. As the holiday season approaches, the families to return to the new community are settling into brand new, energy efficient, affordable housing units. Ms. Pamela Quince, a returning resident said, “The relocation process was great, I did not have any problems. I was able to come back to a new place, and I just love it!”
Completely renovated inside and out with sustainable, modern improvements, the former French Villas public housing community will be home to approximately 350 residents when construction is complete by spring 2015.
Late last year, the property was converted from public housing to a new HUD program, the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), which allows housing authorities nationwide new opportunities to reinvest in their properties. Built in 1970, the old French Villas property was plagued with severe issues stemming from an aged and obsolete infrastructure that had reached the end of its useful life. Every unit on site needed to be gutted and remodeled, from the inside out. Residents living on the property were provided relocation rental assistance and relocated during the renovation process.
The interior design of the new units at Landings at Cross Bayou incorporates state-of-the-art, energy saving improvements such as Energy Star Certified appliances and ceiling fans in every unit, programmable thermostats, outdoor lighting with daylight sensors, and Energy Star Certified cool-roofs on each building. Additionally, every unit will be equipped with new cabinetry and countertops in the kitchens and bathroom, as well as beautiful ceramic tiled floors. Each individual unit will be wired and for high-speed internet as well. The new community will also feature a covered, outdoor picnic area with permanent picnic tables and a grill to use, as well as a basketball court to play on. The new Youth Center Building will house a library, as well as a new computer lab, with internet access for the residents.
Ms. Quashell Davis echoed Quince’s feeling on the process of relocation, and upon seeing the finished Landings remarked, “I love the features!” Residents like Quince and Davis will now enjoy many of the same amenities expected of any newly-constructed apartment complex.
As PCHA continues its commitment to the residents of Landings, a youth based athletic program to engage and support children in the community is already in the planning stages. The end of March 2015 will see all residents moved into their new homes; just in time for the community ribbon-cutting. Landings at Cross Bayou no longer suffers from inadequate, outdated plumbing, and unsanitary conditions, but instead is a modern icon of the improving quality of public and affordable housing.