Vengroff revisits affordable housing project in Sarasota

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SARASOTA – Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody says Thursday was a great day for affordable housing.

“Harvey Vengroff has agreed to come back to the table with his affordable housing project in the city of Sarasota, and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” Brody said.

Broday says there’s a desperate need for this housing in Sarasota.

“I think everybody understands it’s not just a quality of life issue, but it’s a traffic issue; it’s an economic development issue,” Brody said.

It’s an issue Vengroff and his team are trying to solve with One Stop Housing.

“In the past year we’ve put 900 families in places where they can live in Orlando,” Vengroff said.

Recently he provided affordable housing in Bradenton, totaling 1,800 apartments in the Sarasota-Bradenton area.

“The average rent is about $700 per month, and that includes utilities,” Vengroff said.

The next project is an eight-acre space just off Fruitville Rd.

Vengroff is anticipating 150-200 studio and two-bedroom units, but it’s not yet a done deal.

Ninety percent of the work is done to move forward with rezoning and building plans, shifting the property from industrial to residential.

“Then we have to start looking at all the fees, and there are several million dollars worth of fees,” Project Manager Joe Barnette said.

The fees are their biggest hurdle, which Vengroff hopes to overcome with the help of city officials, so the impact doesn’t fall on the renters.

“If you ask them to pay $750 or $800 a month, they just don’t have it, and it would mean one of the kids doesn’t get a pair of sneakers and one of the kids doesn’t eat,” Vengroff said. “There is a solution; you just gotta let it happen.”

“I’m really looking forward to helping shepherd this through the process,” Brody said.

Barnette says the rezoning process will take about four months, and then they can start the building process.

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Hallie Peilet
Hallie Peilet is an Indiana University graduate with a degree in broadcast journalism, and a minor in music. She has had experience in several media outlets. Previously, she interned for WCIU-TV in Chicago, learning about production and live reporting. During her senior year at IU, she worked as a reporter and anchor for her campus news station, and as a multimedia journalist for WTIU/WFIU, the PBS/NPR affiliate in Bloomington. She grew up just outside of Chicago in Munster, Indiana, and in her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, discovering new music, and watching Chicago sports. If you have an idea for a story, e-mail her at hallie.peilet@snntv.com.