Host: One of the most affordable senior homes in this area sits on land owned by the City of Sarasota, in the low-income neighborhood of Newtown. Last week, the city decided to sell the land to a New York real estate fund, and Ramon Lopez has the story.
Ramon Lopez: The Nov. 6 Sarasota City Commission meeting was dominated by heated discussion about new zoning for bars and nightclubs and revised vacation rental ordinances.
Lost in the noise was a decision by the city commissioners to move ahead with a letter of intent for sale of city-owned land located at 1777 18th Street, upon which rests the J.H. Floyd Sunshine Village. It is a city tenant under an existing 99-year ground lease that was executed in 1989 and whose term will not be up until 2088.
J.H. Floyd Sunshine Village, with 59 apartments, provides affordable housing for senior citizens with low or moderate income. Many residents are there because of a HUD rental assistance program. Under the program, a resident pays approximately 30 percent of their adjusted income as rent, with rent often as low as $25 a month. Sunshine Village is owned by a not-for-profit corporation headed by George Bumbray.
The city commission’s decision is important since it will help maintain affordable housing for cash-strapped seniors within city limits.
Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch was all in favor of the deal. Commissioner Erik Arroyo had some questions regarding the appraised value of the land. He also asked about needed capital improvements to the apartments. Commissioner Debbie Trice wanted assurances that the apartments would remain affordable housing for low-income elders.
Robert Messick with law firm Icard Merrill explained why the J.H. Floyd Sunshine Village needs to be sold to Capital Realty Group. It already manages the low-income apartment complex. He outlined the company’s plans for Sunshine Village.
Robert Messick: The board of J.H. Floyd has had four facilities, going down to three facilities, going down to two, and these are the last two facilities that they are selling. They are low-income. They had a low-income nursing home and they sold that. This is an independent living facility. It’s for low-income, it’s HUD financing, and it’s restricted to HUD financing. The board of J.H. Floyd has made the decision to sell its facilities quite simply because they’re kind of running out of gas. The chairman of my board turned 100, George Bumbray. These are his babies. The board was down to two members when he was on dialysis. They very much want to continue exactly what you pointed out, which is low-income housing, for HUD qualifying and HUD support. Capital Realty has been the operator-manager of these two facilities for the last half dozen years. They run not-for-profits, while Capital Realty is a for-profit company. … Nothing’s going to change with these facilities in the sale. In effect, it will help preserve a facility and allow capital improvements to it by Capital Realty. They want to put improvements in there and continue the low-income nature. This is going to keep low-income housing on this property in the city. They want to turn it into a foundation for low-income residents of the city of Sarasota, and they’re talking about it with … the Community Foundation. That’s where this is all heading. They don’t want to really sell it, but they need to do it. The good work of J.H. Floyd and its boards is really coming to an end with these facilities, but we really believe that the people from Capital Realty want to continue that good mark.
RL: In the end, the city commissioners voted five to zero to approve a letter of intent from Capital Realty Group that will allow for purchase of the land J.H. Floyd Sunshine Village sits on. Drafting of a purchase and sale agreement will follow.
This is Ramon Lopez for WSLR News.
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