UPDATE: Church Backs Out of Land Sale

The Grace Connection Church says it will sell its property at 635 64th Street South to another congregation.  The church had agreed to sell the city of St. Petersburg its almost 5-acre property near Bear Creek for affordable housing, but now that deal is dead.  The new buyer has not been named.

Tampa Bay Times reports:

“Pastor Tim Kelley said his cash-strapped church at 635 64th St. S, which had been trying to sell the property for the past two years, had just received an offer from a larger St. Petersburg congregation and planned to accept it. The offer is less than the $1.8 million the city was planning to pay for the property, on which it planned to build a multistory development with about 86 affordable and workforce housing units. Money to buy the land was to come from $15 million in Penny for Pinellas funds earmarked for land acquisition for affordable housing. The city planned to lease the church property to a developer to build and manage the project.”

Grace Connection Church says the new deal will be for less than the city was offering but will calm the concerns of neighbors.  Rich Kriesman, the mayor of St. Petersburg said:

“Unfortunately, NIMBYISM (not in my back yard-ism) is real. We need our residents to be open-minded to affordable housing, because the reality is this would have provided seniors or educators, firefighters, nurses and other hardworking residents with a quality place to live. The work to accomplish this continues and we will only be able to provide housing affordability if the entire community is committed to doing so.”

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