Encore

Format
Full

City
Tampa

State/Province
FL

Country
USA

Metro Area
Tampa

Project Type
Planned Community or Resort

Location Type
Other Central City

Land Uses
Agricultural Land/Farm
Education
Medical
Multifamily Rental Housing
Museum
Neighborhood/Community Center
Open space
Restaurant
Retail
Structured Parking
Town Square

Keywords
Affordable housing
Choice Neighborhoods
District energy
Downtown housing
Green building
Healthy place features
LEED Gold certified
LEED Silver Certified
Low-income housing
Main street retail
Mixed-income housing
Mixed-use development
Multigenerational
Public housing
Public-private partnership
Redevelopment
Senior housing
Stormwater reuse system
Tax increment financing
Urban regeneration

Site Size
28 acres
acres hectares

Date Started
2006

Date Opened
2012

Encore is a mixed-use, mixed-income redevelopment of what had been public housing just north of downtown Tampa, Florida, developed by a partnership between a housing authority and a bank-owned community development corporation. Encore currently comprises four apartment buildings with a total of 662 units of housing, 559 of which are affordable to seniors and family households with low incomes. At full buildout, the LEED for Neighborhood Development Gold–rated community will have up to 1,513 housing units, plus 180,000 square feet of office space, 200 hotel keys, and a 36,000-square-foot grocery on its 12 city blocks. Over eight years, the $425 million investment will create 5,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs on a site that previously supported only 18 jobs. Encore uses innovative and efficient districtwide approaches for stormwater management and cooling.

[ Introduction | The Site and Neighborhood | The Idea | Development Process |Public Agency Collaboration |Planning and Design | Sustainability |Development Finance | Management, Marketing, and Performance | Observations and Lessons Learned | Project Information ]

Introduction

Central Avenue, just north of downtown Tampa, once rang out with song. Its swinging jazz clubs—like the Cotton Club, Apollo Ballroom, Club Chiffon, and the Blue Room—were where Ray Charles recorded his first albums, Ella Fitzgerald wrote the song “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” and Hank Ballard spotted a fun dance move that inspired him to pen the biggest hit of the 1960s, “The Twist.”

Those sounds were lost to the neighborhood for a generation—demolished by urban renewal and drowned out by the thrum of highway traffic, with only a bronze plaque in a neglected park commemorating their absence. Today, after nearly 20 years of planning marked by several starts and stops, Central Avenue again plays an integral role in the life of a thriving central city.

Encore, a new and diverse community developed by the Tampa Housing Authority (THA) and Banc of America Community Development Corporation (BACDC), now brings people of all ages and incomes to its homes, shops, squares, and parks—including one built atop a cutting-edge district-scale stormwater basin.

Encore is a mixed-use, mixed-income public housing redevelopment, with 662 units built to date. These two buildings, Ella and Reed, house low-income seniors and front Ray Charles Boulevard, Encore’s main street. [Payton Chung]
Encore is a mixed-use, mixed-income public housing redevelopment, with 662 units built to date. These two buildings, Ella and Reed, house low-income seniors and front Ray Charles Boulevard, Encore’s main street. [Payton Chung]

Rather than a forbidding housing project, Encore is now “a catalyst for surrounding development, feeding into surrounding communities,” says David Iloanya, director of real estate development for THA. What was a neglected area that drivers raced past on their way out of downtown has now become an integral pedestrian link between emerging neighborhoods such as Channelside, Historic Ybor, and the River Arts District.

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The Site and Neighborhood

Encore’s 28-acre site sits just northeast of downtown Tampa and several blocks southwest of the city’s Historic Ybor neighborhood. Union Station, providing Amtrak train and bus service, is two blocks southeast of the site, and the Marion Street transit hub is six blocks to the west. Several major streets constitute the rough boundaries of the site: on the west, North Orange Avenue feeds traffic to Interstate 275; on the south, East Cass Street is a principal route through downtown; and on the east, Nebraska Avenue is one of the city’s key north–south arterials. Nebraska is also the city’s busiest bus corridor: the area’s first MetroRapid line offers frequent, limited-stop service all day to both downtown and the University of South Florida.

Encore’s 28-acre site is located just northeast of downtown Tampa, northwest of the Channelside neighborhood, and west of Historic Ybor. The area has a long and storied history as the city’s home for African American business, society, and culture. [THA]
Encore’s 28-acre site is located just northeast of downtown Tampa, northwest of the Channelside neighborhood, and west of Historic Ybor. The area has a long and storied history as the city’s home for African American business, society, and culture. [THA]

The Encore site, formerly Central Park Village, was originally settled after the Civil War by newly emancipated African Americans. Known as “the Scrub,” it was an informal settlement they built in the scrubby woods just beyond the town limits of Tampa. After rail and steamship service arrived in 1883, the twin cities of Tampa and Ybor blossomed with commerce—particularly in cigar manufacturing and shipping. The city’s prosperity in the early 20th century drew many more African American residents, many of whom were forced by discriminatory laws to settle in and around the Scrub. Central Avenue developed as the primary commercial spine for the area and flourished with hundreds of businesses. By day and especially by night, Central Avenue was the lively heart of a thriving community.

As was the case in many other African American business districts across the country, waves of urban renewal tore apart the neighborhood in the post–World War II years. In 1954, the heart of the Scrub, an area packed with overcrowded frame houses, was leveled to build the 483-unit Central Park Village public housing development. Freeway construction in the early 1960s sliced Central Avenue in two, and disinvestment followed as integration opened new opportunities elsewhere. The simmering summer of 1967 delivered a final shock: a police-involved shooting sparked three days of riots and arson, leaving dozens of businesses in ruins. Central Avenue’s last business closed in 1974, and the city moved to level the area for a park and six-lane freeway ramp. In 1978, Perry Harvey Sr. Park opened, and Central Avenue’s heyday was just a memory.


Encore’s neighborhood was hard hit by urban renewal. From 1954 to 2007, the site was an isolated public housing project called Central Park Village. [THA]
Encore’s neighborhood was hard hit by urban renewal. From 1954 to 2007, the site was an isolated public housing project called Central Park Village. [THA]

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The Idea

Central Park Village’s 1950s-era superblock layout isolated the community from its surroundings, and the cement-block buildings had inadequate heating and mechanical systems from the beginning. By the 1990s, the buildings required a substantial overhaul or complete redevelopment.

“The downtown site lends itself to greater densities” than the previous low-rises, says Leroy Moore, THA senior vice president and chief operating officer. Yet Tampa was also committed to maintaining the Scrub’s long history of providing a centrally located gateway to greater opportunity. “Unlike other cities, we’re not going to move vulnerable people away from the cultural and transportation hub,” Moore continues. “The Encore site is rich in jobs and transportation and entertainment.” By building it back to the scale warranted for a downtown neighborhood, he says, THA could maintain or even expand affordable housing opportunities near downtown.

Mixed-use development at Encore could expand opportunity further by bringing job opportunities to the site. Tremendous growth had taken place in the 1990s and 2000s all around Encore: a nationally renowned entertainment district emerged amid the old cigar factories of Historic Ybor to the east, and thousands of residents moved into converted lofts and new high-rises in the Channelside area just a few blocks to the southeast.

Central Park Village was difficult to maintain and police. [THA]
Central Park Village was difficult to maintain and police. [THA]

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Development Process

Plans to redevelop Central Park Village began in the 1990s, spurred by the availability of federal HOPE VI grants that could help underwrite development costs. In 2003, Civitas Tampa, a local private development firm, proposed a 157-acre development encompassing Central Park Village and neighboring properties, requiring complex land swaps both downtown and in several outlying neighborhoods, local subsidies, and HOPE VI funding. “The initial reaction was denial: the residents didn’t believe that they’d have the opportunity to come back” to Encore, says Iloanya. The plan ultimately failed to clear all the hurdles, and instead THA moved forward at Riverview Terrace, a different site.

THA’s track record of guaranteeing residents the right to return to redeveloped housing, if they so desire, warmed Central Park Village residents to later proposals. A new financing plan emerged: after Tampa-area housing values doubled between 2002 and 2006, tax increment financing (TIF) looked irresistible—especially for a site then paying no local property taxes. An ambitious plan emerged whereby Central Park Village and its surroundings would sprout numerous condominium towers, spinning off $250 million in TIF funds.

THA released a request for qualifications to find a development partner that could best leverage resources for Central Park Village. It selected BACDC, the oldest and largest bank-owned community development corporation, which had been working in central Tampa since 1999. The public/private partnership combines the bank’s access to capital markets and more straightforward procurement processes with THA’s relationships with local leaders and access to service providers, notes Eileen Pope, vice president of BACDC.

In 2006, the city established a community redevelopment area (CRA) to harvest the tax increment from Central Park Village, while THA began working with 483 families on relocation and received approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for demolition. By July 2007, Central Park Village was no more and the city was preparing a $28 million bond issue to underwrite Encore’s horizontal infrastructure. In September, an unexpected state court decision regarding TIF bonds halted Encore and scores of other TIF-backed plans statewide. By the time the court reversed itself a year later, the damage had been done: the Great Recession had pulled property values in the Tampa area down 40 percent from their 2007 peak, and downtown condominiums were particularly overbuilt. The CRA only netted a few thousand dollars a year in TIF funds—not millions, as had been forecast.

St. James Church, built in 1922, is the centerpiece of Ray Charles Boulevard. It will be renovated for use as a museum. [Payton Chung]
St. James Church, built in 1922, is the centerpiece of Ray Charles Boulevard. It will be renovated for use as a museum. [Payton Chung]

In retrospect, the delay was a blessing in disguise, Moore says. “Retooling it meant replacing TIF funds with grant dollars, which were even better,” he says. “That kept us from being overleveraged, so we weren’t burdened by servicing debt payments while trying to get lots sold. . . . We also could retool our program for the market shift—from condo to rental housing and commercial.”

The recession held another silver lining for Encore: “When the recession hit and everything was put on hold, we had the most shovel-ready site in the country,” says Moore.

HUD launched the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) as economic stimulus, rewarding local government efforts to assist neighborhoods hurt by widespread foreclosures or abandoned housing. Because redevelopment of vacant properties was among the eligible uses, THA joined the city in applying for NSP funds. In 2012, they secured a $28 million NSP2 grant for Encore’s horizontal infrastructure and $10 million to mitigate and prevent foreclosures throughout central Tampa.

At long last, ground could be broken on Encore. Once funding was in place for the infrastructure, conventional housing subsidies could be arranged for vertical development on the resulting blocks, and construction began within weeks.

“The housing authority had the first and only crane in downtown Tampa” after the recession, says Iloanya. “Our timing actually worked out really well” relative to the local apartment market’s comeback, says James Cloar, a THA board member. “Concerns about housing affordability downtown became critical just as Encore is providing the opportunity for people to move into quality housing at an affordable price.”

THA had been coordinating with the city and county on multiple capital improvements in and around Encore in order to ensure that a complete community would be in place when residents returned. The Obama administration’s replacement for HOPE VI, Choice Neighborhoods, created an opportunity to accelerate the multifaceted investments around Encore. “Even before Choice Neighborhoods came about, we were defining what a Choice Neighborhood meant,” says Iloanya.

Ella and Reed, two apartment buildings for seniors, front Encore’s town square. Each is designed to reference the neighborhood’s heritage. [Payton Chung]
Ella and Reed, two apartment buildings for seniors, front Encore’s town square. Each is designed to reference the neighborhood’s heritage. [Payton Chung]

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Public Agency Collaboration

The site was long zoned for high-density residential—60 to 100 units per acre—and redevelopment of the site has been a high priority for the Tampa’s past two mayors. A designated point person within the permitting office helps ensure that local permits do not interfere with federal funding deadlines.

The multidisciplinary approach of the Choice Neighborhoods program required extensive collaboration among multiple public agencies. The city rebuilt the 11-acre Perry Harvey Park—a five-block green expanse bordering Encore to the west—at a cost of $7 million, half of which was paid for through the Choice Neighborhoods grant. The park immerses visitors in the neighborhood’s rich history with several public art pieces, including three tile murals along the side wall of Encore’s Trio building. The park also includes features like a splash fountain, a festival lawn with a performance plaza, and basketball courts.

Public art honoring the neighborhood’s musical heritage welcomes visitors to the adjacent Perry Harvey Sr. Park. [Payton Chung]
Public art honoring the neighborhood’s musical heritage welcomes visitors to the adjacent Perry Harvey Sr. Park. [Payton Chung]

One obstacle arose when activists were able to get the park’s existing skateboarding bowl placed on the National Register of Historic Places; the park’s HUD funding triggered federal review of plans to replace it. Ultimately, the bowl was laser-measured and rebuilt within a larger skate park alongside pieces of the original bowl.

Also part of the site is Christina Meacham School, which was built in 1926 within what would later become Central Park Village. THA swapped the one-acre school site for two acres at Encore’s northern end, where Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) plans to build a middle school. In the interim, the school site is used for a temporary urban farm operated by the University of South Florida to provide fresh produce to local residents, restaurants, and grocers, and learning opportunities for schoolchildren. HCPS is also coordinating with THA to bring a Head Start early-childhood education center to the ground floor of the Trio apartment building. Hillsborough Community College, one of the country’s largest, will also expand into Encore with a job training center.

Across Nebraska Avenue from Encore, Hillsborough County opened a $7 million public library that has historical exhibits and special collections, a recording studio, and a 350-seat meeting room. Eventually complementing the library’s exhibits will be a museum in the historic St. James Church, the only structure remaining from the days before Central Park Village was built and now located at the heart of Encore.

Site plan with numbered development sites. [THA]
Site plan with numbered development sites. [THA]

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Planning and Design

Encore’s streets divide the site into 12 full-block development parcels, numbered from northwest to southeast. Ray Charles Boulevard—which runs from Perry Harvey Park along the site’s western boundary to Nebraska Avenue—has a broad landscaped median that is the defining east–west axis of the development. Near the center of the site, a traffic circle at the intersection of Ray Charles and Hank Ballard Street creates a “town square” for Encore. Scott Street runs across the northern edge of the site, and East Cass Street runs along the southern boundary.

Four north–south streets further divide the site—the resurrected Central Avenue alongside Perry Harvey Park on the west, Governor Street, Hank Ballard Street, and Blanche Armwood Street. The development’s new streets and building names honor historical figures associated with the site—whether popular musicians like Charles and Ella Fitzgerald or community activists like Armwood and Essie Mae Reed. Landscaping along new or rebuilt streets, particularly Ray Charles and Scott, emphasizes pedestrian friendliness and sustainability with broad sidewalks, native plants, and rain gardens.

Five parcels have been developed to date—two as affordable apartments for seniors, two as mixed-income apartments for families, and one with the site’s distinctive consolidated infrastructure plant. One additional parcel at the center of the site will also be developed as mixed-income rental apartments. Parcel 1, in the site’s northwest corner, has been reserved for the future Meacham Middle School. Five parcels near the site’s southern and eastern edges, along busy East Cass and Nebraska, are being marketed by THA for sale to outside developers for mixed-use development.

Outdoor amenity decks are located atop parking in the middle of each block. The Reed has a pool and an outdoor dining area. [THA]
Outdoor amenity decks are located atop parking in the middle of each block. The Reed has a pool and an outdoor dining area. [THA]

The four apartment buildings developed by BACDC and THA at Encore have individual designs inspired by the site’s history, says Moore. “Each building has musical references and historical references,” he says, as does public art placed throughout the site. The modern design language and mid-rise scale provide a transition from downtown’s high-rises to the residential neighborhoods beyond. Each building has resident amenity spaces—a fitness center, a community gathering room with kitchen, a library, a theater, and a computer room—and retail space on the ground floor, creating activity along Ray Charles Boulevard. Each building also has an outdoor pool on a roof deck above a midblock parking garage.

Encore’s two apartment buildings for families are on the western block of Ray Charles Boulevard, facing Perry Harvey Park. The newest apartment building, Tempo, is a boldly colored seven-story building on parcel 2 that houses 203 apartments, a ground-level retail space set aside for a stage theater and restaurant, and amenity spaces such as a game room and a chapel. Across the boulevard on parcel 7 is the 141-unit Trio, which includes one six-story building along Ray Charles with two four-story buildings behind. Its ground floor also houses a movie theater, a billiards room, an art gallery, and a restaurant.

Two apartment buildings for seniors line the north side of Ray Charles Boulevard. Ella, on parcel 3, was the first building completed at Encore. It offers its 160 senior households such amenities as a shuffleboard court and a community garden on the roof deck, plus a movie theater and art exhibition space inside. Next door on parcel 4 is the Reed, with 158 units and an outpatient wellness center.

Five parcels near the southern and eastern edges of the site will be sold to other developers for a mix of uses. Low- and mid-rise retail space and offices are shown along Nebraska Avenue in the foreground; office space, a hotel, and high-rise condominiums are shown along Cass Avenue on the left. [Baker Barrios Architect for THA]
Five parcels near the southern and eastern edges of the site will be sold to other developers for a mix of uses. Low- and mid-rise retail space and offices are shown along Nebraska Avenue in the foreground; office space, a hotel, and high-rise condominiums are shown along Cass Avenue on the left. [Baker Barrios Architect for THA]

Parcel 8, at the center of the site, is currently used for construction staging but in the future will be developed as mixed-income residential space by BACDC and THA.

Of the five parcels near East Cass and Nebraska avenues being marketed for sale to private developers, parcels 9, 10, and 11 are approved for mixed-use high-rises up to 25 to 30 stories tall, with up to 600 additional multifamily units, 200 hotel keys, and 180,000 square feet of office space. Parcels 5 and 12, located along the Nebraska Avenue retail corridor on Encore’s eastern edge, are intended for retail and office buildings of low- or mid-rise scale; parcel 12 is zoned for a 39,000-square-foot supermarket.

The mix of unit sizes and income levels within the apartment buildings was largely determined by the promise that Central Park Village residents could return to Encore. Encore has already fulfilled its original promise to bring back more affordable units than had existed on the site, and also has as many units as the previous development offering three and four bedrooms. Encore has more small apartments than Central Park Village, in keeping with downtown market demand.

Encore’s phasing strategy launched the development with Ella, a building for seniors. “It was a statement to the most vulnerable residents who had been relocated,” says Moore. Fifty-nine percent of Central Park Village households who wished to return to Encore were elderly or disabled and had not been well served by the previous buildings. “A seven-story elevator building was not a hard sell” to these long-term residents, he says.

Trio, the second building completed at Encore, offers 141 apartments (with one to four bedrooms) in three separate buildings. [Payton Chung]
Trio, the second building completed at Encore, offers 141 apartments (with one to four bedrooms) in three separate buildings. [Payton Chung]

Development of Trio, the second phase and the first family building, involved considerably more legwork because of the lingering stigma involving high-rise public housing for families. Having “families in an elevator building required a lot more education,” Moore says.

“Before we started the design, we took resident leaders, board members, and community folks on tours—not just in Tampa, but around the country,” examining new mid-rise and high-rise affordable housing in other cities, Moore says. The tours were meant to figure out “what were the strategies in managing those buildings, in designing larger apartment configurations with more bedrooms, and inherent design issues in large buildings—access to play areas, where those large apartments go within the buildings,” he says.

Design, and especially management, can help minimize conflicts between children and other residents. For example, Trio’s three-building layout maximizes the number of corners, ends, and low-floor spaces available for large apartments.

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Sustainability

Encore’s plan targets Gold certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) program. Each of its buildings has been, or is on track to be, certified LEED Gold or Silver. Factors that contribute to the LEED ND rating include Encore’s high density, mixed uses, and excellent access to transit and neighborhood services. All of the site’s concrete demolition debris was recycled as aggregate for nearby road construction projects, and large oak trees on the site were retained. As part of its focus on health and well-being, Encore is a smoke-free property. Pope notes that tenants appreciate this, but “sometimes my contractors were not so happy with that.”

A central utility plant provides stormwater and cooling services for the entire district. At right is the underground stormwater vault, capped by a park and solar panels. At left is the central chiller plant, which can efficiently cool up to 2.5 million square feet of space. [THA]
A central utility plant provides stormwater and cooling services for the entire district. At right is the underground stormwater vault, capped by a park and solar panels. At left is the central chiller plant, which can efficiently cool up to 2.5 million square feet of space. [THA]

The site’s stormwater and cooling needs are handled at one 35,000-square-foot site on a sliver of land at the southeastern corner of the development, next to an electric company lot. The most prominent feature is the 16,000-square-foot “technology park,” which nearly covers an 18,000-square-foot underground sand basin—structured with five-foot-wide concrete cubes—that stores up to 33,000 cubic feet of stormwater. That stormwater can be pumped for use in irrigation during the dry season, or can filter into the aquifer. In the facility’s several years of use, no stormwater has ever left the site, nor has off-site water needed to be piped in for irrigation.

Building the stormwater vault early on was an investment that yielded “a more valuable project and a more urban scale,” Moore says. A surface stormwater detention strategy for the Encore site would have required six acres of land, taking up nearly one-fourth of the entire development and severing the site’s street grid. The stormwater vault’s 2,000-square-foot maintenance-truck access point is crowned with 99 solar panels that can generate 23 kilowatts of power—part of the overall 100 kilowatts of solar generation across the entire site. Moore notes that the vault and park integrated stormwater management into the plan so well that it has become “infrastructure that you don’t have to hide.”

The neighboring district energy plant also has a top-line benefit: not only is its operation 40 to 50 percent more energy efficient than cooling each building separately, but it also frees up building rooftops for resident amenities or revenue-generating photovoltaic cells. The plant has room for three chillers with a combined capacity of 4,500 tons of refrigeration—enough to cool 2.5 million square feet of space.

Landscapes and streetscapes are designed with water use in mind. The neighborhood is aiming for LEED ND Gold certification, and individual buildings are certified LEED for New Construction Silver or Gold. [Payton Chung]
Landscapes and streetscapes are designed with water use in mind. The neighborhood is aiming for LEED ND Gold certification, and individual buildings are certified LEED for New Construction Silver or Gold. [Payton Chung]

The first chiller installed was a screw compressor, which fills 500 tons of ice storage tanks behind the building. That supply of ice, produced at night when electric rates are lower, is sufficient to keep the air conditioning running even through a days-long power interruption. A second chiller uses a variable-frequency system to directly feed chilled water into 7,500 feet of insulated chilled-water pipes that reach heat exchangers at each of the buildings. Process water used in the cooling system is recycled from air-conditioner condensate and drawn from wells rather than from the municipal potable water supply.

In addition to meeting the needs of current and future development at Encore, the system has generated inquiries for THA from neighboring buildings about obtaining chilled water.

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Development Finance

As is the case with most affordable housing developments, several sources of subsidies were combined to assemble the capital needed to build out the site’s infrastructure and the four residential buildings. The four buildings built to date include 662 units; the two buildings for seniors both provide 100 percent affordable housing, and the two family buildings provide 70 percent affordable and 30 percent market-rate units.

All four buildings have benefited from the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, HUD grants available for replacing public housing units, HUD project-based contracts that guarantee a certain number of apartments for recipients of housing vouchers, and state incentives for brownfield redevelopment. Other funding sources included THA’s capital funds, city housing funds, NSP funds, county tax-exempt bonds, and the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) grant program.

Whereas many Choice Neighborhoods grants have primarily funded housing construction, only Tempo received a grant from this program. Similarly, Trio was the only building to use the limited and highly competitive pool of 9 percent LIHTCs; the other buildings used the more widely available 4 percent credits in conjunction with tax-exempt bond financing. BACDC has syndicated most of the tax credits through Bank of America, but is free to work with other banks; RBC Capital Markets offered a better price for Tempo’s tax credits.

A unit interior at the Ella. [THA]
A unit interior at the Ella. [THA]

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Management, Marketing, and Performance

“You can easily point out public housing in most cities, but we’ve worked so that you don’t recognize our development as public housing,” says Iloanya. One critical element of that is having strong management in place, he says. The buildings at Encore are all managed by the same firm, JMG Realty, which was selected in part because of its experience with mixed-income populations and its understanding of complex mixed-income financing stacks. Many of the financing sources stipulate differing levels of affordability, which complicates accounting.

Thus, Pope likes to engage property management companies even while the financing is coming together. Property managers’ feedback can be critical during design as well, she adds. “I like them to be part of the value-engineering process,” she says. “They need to understand why you did or didn’t do these things so that it’s easier to manage in the long run.”

Beyond the property level, overlapping layers of governance take care of matters affecting Encore. Each building has a two-part condominium association, separating retail from residential ownership—separation that is closely tracked because housing subsidies cannot be used for retail spaces. Each condo building, in turn, is represented on a master association of all Encore buildings. The streets, sidewalks, pipes, and street furniture between the buildings are managed by a community development district (CDD), a local authority funded through a property tax assessment to manage public infrastructure on the site. The CDD has its own board of supervisors and contracts with Rosetta Management for services. Residents sit on multiple boards, including the CDD and the master association, which helps in feeding news back into the community.

Events, like a jazz festival, have built awareness of Encore and its history. [THA]
Events, like a jazz festival, have built awareness of Encore and its history. [THA]

The site’s marketing and branding draw extensively on the community’s rich history, a particularly distinctive aspect in fast-growing Tampa. Encore’s ample open space and excellent regional accessibility make it a good site for public events that can “bring awareness to the site and help to integrate it into its [downtown] context,” says Iloanya. Events, staged through the mayor’s office or a public relations firm, have included a jazz festival, a bicycle race, and food truck rallies. For the 2016 holiday season, Encore hosted Metropolitan Ministries’ Holiday Tent, which draws tens of thousands of volunteers, donors, and recipient families to its one-stop holiday giving destination.

One result of the marketing efforts has been very strong absorption for Encore’s market-rate apartments: surprisingly, these units at Tempo and Trio have leased up before the affordable units.

Pope attributes this to the housing being at the right location at a competitive price, with rents below those charged by nearby luxury high-rises. “You get to live in the city . . . in a safe community with good management, in a quality product that might not be as fancy as somewhere else,” she says. Nor has she found the mixed-income nature of the development to deter renters. “People who live in inner cities like diversity,” she says. “They understand that there’s economic, cultural, and racial diversity, and are more accepting of that.” Cloar notes the remarkable diversity achieved so far, with a balance of all races and ages living on site.

The neighborhood-serving retail spaces along Ray Charles Boulevard were leased through a local broker, targeting a range of business types that had been identified through market studies and earlier public meetings. A generous tenant improvement fund of $500,000 helped attract local entrepreneurs to open shops on site, including a barbershop, Latin American restaurant, and a sports bar.

Several of the developer parcels have been under contract in the past, but those sales did not close. In particular, past grocery proposals have stalled over designs that did not meet Encore’s urban design standards. “It’s key that we stay with the consistent vision that we set up instead of circumventing it—however long it takes,” says Iloanya.

A new marketing effort for development of the remaining parcels is to begin in February 2017, with an open-offer period to follow. Moore says proposals will be evaluated “not just on price, but also the product they’re proposing to build and the developers’ capability” to deliver something compatible with the broader Encore plan.

Resident amenity spaces, like the fitness center at Ella, are located on the ground floor to enliven the street. [Payton Chung]
Resident amenity spaces, like the fitness center at Ella, are located on the ground floor to enliven the street. [Payton Chung]

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Observations and Lessons Learned

Encore was able to bounce back from multiple setbacks, pivoting its infrastructure funding strategy from HOPE VI to local tax increment financing to NSP and finally Choice Neighborhoods when those opportunities arose. The result was a development that delivered more affordable units at a more appropriate density and with less debt than previous schemes had envisioned. Those two false starts taught Pope that “you have to be realistic—and ready to pull the plug if it’s not working.”

Pope has also learned to better anticipate problems. BACDC and THA are preparing a joint-venture redevelopment of another site, and Pope is already prequalifying contractors. “I want to know how they handle problems,” she says. Iloanya echoes the sentiment. “I prefer to deal with somebody who admits that they’ve had problems versus someone who says, ‘We’ve never had a delay,’ or ‘We’ve never gotten an RFI [request for information],’” he says.

Building out the infrastructure beforehand allowed the team to view critical services not just as costs, but as opportunities. The stormwater system recaptured additional acreage for development, better tied the site together, and provided room for additional greenery throughout the site. The chiller plant dramatically increases energy efficiency—especially critical for government-assisted housing, where landlords receive the same utilities payment regardless of actual operating costs—and improves Encore’s resilience in the event of a power loss. All of these features were added because of their top-line benefits, not in response to any local mandates.

Perry Harvey Sr. Park, which has long been a skateboarding destination, incorporates part of the country’s only historically designated skate feature. [Payton Chung]
Perry Harvey Sr. Park, which has long been a skateboarding destination, incorporates part of the country’s only historically designated skate feature. [Payton Chung]

Strategic phasing and realistic planning helped the project maintain momentum and manage bumps along the way. The chiller equipment was added in phases, which meant it could benefit from technological improvements. Launching the development with a building housing seniors helped establish the site and anchor the town square while specifics for the more complex part of the project—mixed-income family housing—were being negotiated. Projects of this scale must be careful to “avoid false expectations of how quickly things are going to happen,” Cloar notes. “The individuals involved may change over time, but the project has to maintain some continuity.”

Encore has been able to distinguish its offering within a crowded downtown housing market through a combination of strategies. It can appeal to residents interested in its rich history, those who want a location near but not in the thick of downtown, and those who want a more diverse set of neighbors.

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Project Information

Development timelineMonth/year
Site purchased by THA1952
Planning startedJanuary 2006
Redevelopment district createdMarch 2006
Site transferred to public/private partnershipDecember 2006
Demolition completedJuly 2007
Ella design startedMarch 2010
Infrastructure contracts signedApril 2010
Infrastructure groundbreakingMay 2010
Road infrastructure construction beganJanuary 2011
Ella construction beganAugust 2011
Reed design startedSeptember 2011
Reed received LIHTC allocationJune 2012
Ella leasing startedSeptember 2012
Ella construction completedDecember 2012
Trio construction beganDecember 2012
Infrastructure construction completedDecember 2012
Tempo design startedApril 2013
Ella fully occupiedAugust 2013
Reed construction beganSeptember 2013
Trio leasing startedDecember 2013
Ella converted to permanent financingJanuary 2014
Reed leasing startedJune 2014
Trio construction completedJune 2014
Tempo construction beganOctober 2014
Trio fully occupiedJanuary 2015
Trio converted to permanent financingMarch 2015
Reed construction completedApril 2015
Reed fully occupiedAugust 2015
Reed converted to permanent financingDecember 2015
Tempo leasing startedMay 2016
Tempo construction completedSummer 2017
Project completion expected2022

Gross building area (GBA)Total building area (sq ft)
Office (proposed) 93,424
Retail/restaurant 8,506
Hotel (proposed) 53,320
Residential 497,224
Parking 371,823
Resident amenities, management offices 23,357
Total GBA1,047,654
Parking spaces 1,103

Potential future developmentTotal building area
Office 180,000 sq ft
Multifamily600 units
Hotel200 keys
Retail (grocery) 36,000 sq ft

Land use planSite area (acres)% of site
Building parcels18.1264.7%
Streets/surface parking6.4523.0%
Landscaping/open space3.4312.3%
Total28.00100%

Residential building/unit type informationNumber of unitsUnit size (sq ft)Typical rent (per month)% leased
Ella (seniors)160
1 bedroom, 1 bath120700$383 - $712100%
2 bedroom, 2 bath401,007$402 - $858100%
Reed (seniors)158
1 bedroom, 1 bath133702 - 737$383 - $716100%
2 bedroom, 2 bath25908 - 1,050$402 - $865100%
Trio (family)141
1 bedroom, 1 bath35704$372 - $755100%
2 bedroom, 2 bath90904$402 - $875100%
3 bedroom, 2.5 bath131,167$697 - $1,100100%
4 bedroom, 2.5 bath31,304$1,227 - $1,310100%
Tempo (family) - under construction203
1 bedroom, 1 bath69711$372 - $755
2 bedroom, 2 bath901,004$402 - $875
3 bedroom, 2.5 bath401,080$1,160
4 bedroom, 2.5 bath41,482$1,368

Retail/restaurant information
Annual rent range$12 - $16 per sq ft
Average length of lease5 - 10 years
Key retail/restaurant tenantsRetail typeGross leasable area (sq ft)
Snipped Barbershop & SalonBarbershop 1,100
Michelle Faedo's On the GoRestaurant 1,594
Westshore PizzaRestaurant 2,793

Development cost information - Phase I infrastructure
Hard costs
Infrastructure$12,752,464
Chiller plant and distribution pipes$6,059,688
Lot 3 parking garage$2,250,000
Heat exchanger, transformer$163,932
Chiller design work$282,857
Total$21,508,941
Soft costs
Civil engineering$979,478
Architecture$73,735
Legal$435,780
Marketing$74,158
Bond for developer$27,242
Platting$12,556
Developer fee$1,500,000
Administration$350,000
Utilities$219,356
Total$3,672,305
Total development cost$25,181,246

Development cost information - Ella
Acquisition$1,645,000
Hard costs$18,846,222
Soft costs$2,951,406
Developer fee$850,000
Reserves$1,114,752
Total$25,407,380

Development cost information - Reed
Acquisition$1,580,990
Hard costs$19,249,748
Soft costs$4,906,830
Developer fee$3,385,000
Reserves$1,890,282
Total$31,012,850

Development cost information - Trio
Acquisition$1,425,000
Hard costs$18,900,000
Soft costs$5,391,402
Developer fee$2,000,000
Reserves$1,091,347
Total$28,807,749

Development cost information - Tempo
Acquisition$2,187,000
Hard costs$27,825,000
Soft costs$9,908,904
Developer fee$2,000,000
Reserves$2,312,408
Total$44,233,312

Financing sources - all buildings to date
Debt capital sources
First mortgage debt$21,500,000
Equity capital sources
Deferred developer fees$1,185,000
LIHTC$46,191,166
Public sector capital sources
City of Tampa (HOME, NSP)$7,875,000
Tampa Housing Authority and HUD$74,796,852
Other (brownfield credits, FHLB)$2,913,273
Grand total$154,461,291

Financing sources - EllaConstructionPermanent
Debt
Bank of America (with Freddie Mac forward commitment) - tax-exempt bonds$2,900,000$2,900,000
Bank of America - short-term bond$9,370,000
Equity and grants
Bank of America - LIHTC (4%)$244,108$7,790,085
HUD Replacement Housing Factor Grant$4,946,299$4,946,299
HUD and Tampa Housing Authority - NSP 2$2,250,000$2,250,000
HUD and City of Tampa - NSP 1$1,000,000$1,000,000
Tampa Housing Authority - land note$1,600,000$1,600,000
Tampa Housing Authority - member note$824,023
City of Tampa - HOME$2,500,000$2,500,000
Federal Home Loan Bank of SF, Affordable Housing Program$1,000,000
Brownfield rebate$396,973$396,973
Deferred developer fee$200,000$200,000
Total$25,407,380$25,407,380

Financing sources - ReedConstructionPermanent
Debt
Bank of America - construction loan$16,302,573
Oak Grove Capital - permanent loan$3,800,000
Equity and grants
Bank of America - LIHTC (9%)$8,173,359$20,675,932
HUD Replacement Housing Factor Grant$2,191,747$2,191,747
Tampa Housing Authority - land note$1,570,000$1,570,000
Tampa Housing Authority - member note$1,998,710$1,998,709
City of Tampa$100,000$100,000
Brownfield rebate$441,461$441,461
Deferred developer fee$235,000$235,000
Total$31,012,850$31,012,849

Financing sources - TrioConstructionPermanent
Debt
Bank of America (with Freddie Mac forward commitment) - tax-exempt bonds$4,800,000$4,800,000
Bank of America - letter of credit$9,320,000
Equity and grants
Bank of America - LIHTC (4%)$6,802,881
HUD and Tampa Housing Authority - NSP 2$3,385,000$3,385,000
HUD Replacement Housing Factor Grant$2,836,374$2,836,374
Tampa Housing Authority - land note$1,425,000$1,425,000
Tampa Housing Authority - member note$607,038$607,038
Tampa Housing Authority - capital funds$2,271,733$4,788,852
City of Tampa - HOME$2,000,000$2,000,000
Federal Home Loan Bank of SF, Affordable Housing Program$990,000$990,000
Brownfield rebate$422,604$422,604
Deferred developer fee$750,000$750,000
Total$28,807,749$28,807,749

Financing sources - TempoConstructionPermanent
Debt
Bank of America (with Freddie Mac forward commitment) - tax-exempt bonds$10,000,000$10,000,000
Bank of America - letter of credit$9,850,000
Equity and grants
RBC Capital Markets - LIHTC (4%)$10,922,268
HUD Choice Neighborhoods$16,494,000$16,494,000
HUD Replacement Housing Factor Grant$3,297,530$3,297,530
Tampa Housing Authority - land note$2,187,000$2,187,000
Tampa Housing Authority - member note$670,279$670,279
Brownfield rebate$662,235$662,235
Deferred developer fee$1,072,268
Total$44,233,312$44,233,312

City
Tampa

State/Province
FL

Country
USA

Metro Area
Tampa

Project Type
Planned Community or Resort

Location Type
Other Central City

Land Uses
Agricultural Land/Farm
Education
Medical
Multifamily Rental Housing
Museum
Neighborhood/Community Center
Open space
Restaurant
Retail
Structured Parking
Town Square

Keywords
Affordable housing
Choice Neighborhoods
District energy
Downtown housing
Green building
Healthy place features
LEED Gold certified
LEED Silver Certified
Low-income housing
Main street retail
Mixed-income housing
Mixed-use development
Multigenerational
Public housing
Public-private partnership
Redevelopment
Senior housing
Stormwater reuse system
Tax increment financing
Urban regeneration

Site Size
28 acres
acres hectares

Date Started
2006

Date Opened
2012

Website

www.encoretampa.com

Project address

1210 Ray Charles Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33602

Developers

Tampa Housing Authority
Tampa, Florida
www.thafl.com

Banc of America Community Development Corporation
Charlotte, North Carolina
baml.bankofamerica.com/creb/cdb

Owner

Central Park Development Group LLC
Tampa, Florida

Architects

Baker Barrios Architect
Tampa, Florida
www.bakerbarrios.com

Bessolo Design Group
St. Petersburg, Florida
www.bessolo.com

General contractors

Hardin Construction

CORE Construction

Siltek Group

Malphus & Son General Contractors

ZMG Construction

Property management

JMG Realty

Rosetta Management

Commercial brokers

The Dohring Group

Eshenbaugh Land Company

Participating agencies

City of Tampa

Housing Finance Authority of Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County Public Schools

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Interviewees

Terrance Brady, director of energy services, Tampa Housing Authority

James Cloar, board member, Tampa Housing Authority

David Iloanya, director of real estate development, Tampa Housing Authority

Leroy Moore, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Tampa Housing Authority

Eileen Pope, senior vice president, Banc of America Community Development Corporation

ULI staff

Patrick L. Phillips
Global Chief Executive Officer

Kathleen B. Carey
President and Chief Executive Officer, ULI Foundation

Dean Schwanke
Senior Vice President
Case Studies and Publications

Payton Chung
Director
Case Studies and Publications
Principal Author

James A. Mulligan

Senior Editor/Manuscript Editor

Betsy Van Buskirk

Creative Director

Anne Morgan

Graphic Design

Elizabeth Herrgott, Feast Studios

Videography

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