Bay Area mayors struggle to balance booming market, affordable housing

There’s a cross-bay push for affordable housing in the Tampa Bay Area, but the region’s popularity is keeping the market red hot. Now, the mayors of the area’s three largest cities are weighing in.

"The people who work in our restaurants and our galleries and museums, they need places to live in our city," offered Mayor Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg.

Building is underway in Tampa’s West River area for lower-cost housing on public land, but private dirt is often taxed too high to make it work.

"Right now, we’ve got a great project in downtown that would bring in workforce housing," said Mayor Frank Hibbard of Clearwater. "But we can’t get it over the hump because of what the taxes would be."

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In St. Pete, redevelopment plans around Tropicana Field will include affordable housing, but that’s down the road, as is Tampa’s West River.

"We have a keen focus and a very lofty goal of providing 10,000 affordable units by 2027," said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

But she admits they’re needed now, as prices and rents keep rising into the summer. 

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