Tampa selects developer to transform 18 acres west of Hillsborough River into affordable housing, businesses

What was once the city’s storage yard, will soon be a sprawling development.

The city of Tampa announced Miami-based Related Urban Group will work alongside the Tampa Housing Authority to develop the 18 acres of property west of the Hillsborough River.

"We are providing housing, we are providing business space, and we are providing the amenities our community desperately needs," said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Once used for maintenance and city storage, the Rome Yard will soon become home to affordable housing, businesses, a cultural center and more.

"This vacant lot, underutilized for decades, is about to become a very special place," said Carole Post, the city’s administrator for development.

The housing element was a promise made by Castor in the early discussions of the project.

"I promised to provide a minimum of 10,000 affordable living units by 2027, and I have no doubt we’re going to be able to meet and exceed that particular goal," she said.

READ High-end, zero-energy homes create new class of low-income housing in Hillsborough County

In renderings, you can see proposed apartment buildings and townhomes. There will also be a workforce training center, a cigar tower that will use brick reminiscent of old cigar factories, and a great lawn with a musical amphitheater.

The workforce training center will work alongside the CDC (Corporation of Develop Communities) of Tampa to train folks from the area to take up trades that will enable them to be successful in the long-term.

For Joe Robinson, sitting on the planning committee as a community member, meant the world.

"This is the pinnacle, this is the top of where we want to go in West Tampa," Robinson said. "If you do your homework, and talk to the community, you find out what’s going on, you include those people on the decision, and bring them to the table when you want to get something done, you will be successful."

Something Castor was really proud to announce was the developer has committed a minimum of $75 million worth of contracts for minority and women-owned businesses. She says the developer had fulfilled many of their goals for this property.

UPDATES: Get news alerts and updates in the free FOX 13 News app