Tiny home development coming to St. Pete

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Tiny homes are all the rage and St. Pete is getting in on the trend with its first tiny home community.

The city just approved a project to replace a century-old building with houses under 500 square feet.

The developer says projects like these will transform entire communities.

From the looks of the decaying apartment building at 22nd Ave. S. and 13th St. S., you won't be surprised developer PJ Medina decided to start from scratch.

"We tried to bring this back to life, but as we dug deeper and deeper, we just realized it was a nightmare," said Medina.

His plan is to build so-called tiny homes in a 32-by-16 frame, or about 500 sq. ft.

The homes will have a living room, kitchen, and bedroom. 

The 19' ceilings allow for a second lofted bedroom, which adds 200 more square feet.

"I don't need much to be happy," Medina said. "This makes buying and owning a house a possibility."

While they can be bought for $30,000, the ones in South St. Pete will likely be rented fo$1,000 per month.

Yes, they're a tight squeeze, but designer Robert Peirson says they will transform the area and the lives of the people living in them.

"They will have interconnecting sidewalks, so it'll be, in essence, its own neighborhood," he said. "The people living here [will] take care of it as that and reach out and take care of each other."

On Wednesday, the city's development review board unanimously approved the project for six individual homes.

"As we look at how to address affordability in St. Pete, you want to have as many items on your menu of options you can choose from and tiny houses are certainly one of those," said Mayor Rick Kriseman.

Medina admits tiny homes are not for everyone, especially with the loss of privacy one might experience living inches from a roommate or spouse.

But Medina says living small means to think big.

"In a layout like this, people are forced to come together," said Medina. "They see each other day to day, now we can have plans, and community ideas, we can come together and create things."

The hope is to start building on the site in fall.