Sarasota recognized for incentivising housing projects

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artists court
The Artists Court apartments at South Washington Boulevard and Adams Lane will include 26 attainable units

Florida Construction News staff writer

The City of Sarasota has been recognized with a Local Action Award from the Florida League of Cities for the attainable housing density bonus program that incentivizes private developers to build more attainable housing for a range of income levels by increasing the allowed density of residential developments when attainable housing units are included.

Since 2023, the program has led to about 90 additional attainable housing units in the construction pipeline in downtown.

“Attainable housing is a significant quality of life issue in Sarasota and this statewide achievement award underscores we’re on the right track,” said Mayor Liz Alpert. “Last year, the City Commission directed staff to work on solutions to generate more attainable housing stock and our professional staff in the Planning Department responded with this carefully researched, well thought-out density bonus program.

“Already, it’s translating into additional attainable housing units in the pipeline, which our community desperately needs. Congratulations all around!”

The FLC also recognized a second attainable housing density bonus program adopted by the City Commission in March 2024, which incentivizes the creation of mixed-use development and requires housing for a range of incomes along commercial corridors and commercial centers.

“When we heard that we would be receiving the Local Action Award we were very excited, this is first time that the City of Sarasota has received an award from the Florida League of Cities,” said Planning Director Steve Cover. “The city’s attainable housing initiatives have received positive feedback from people of all walks of life, and we’re grateful to be recognized by the Florida League of Cities for that.”

Founded in 1922, the FLC has acted as a unified voice for Florida’s municipal governments and showcased the impacts of citizens and city leaders on Florida’s communities.

The City of Jacksonville held a public hearing regarding the upcoming $1.4 billion stadium renovation this week, hearing from local unions advocating for apprenticeship programs to be included in the language of the agreement.

“Let your Council members know how you feel about this Stadium deal between the City and the Jaguars,” the North Florida Central Labor Council wrote on social media before the meeting. “Tell them how important it is to have local contractors and registered apprenticeships working on this stadium.”

Labor leaders with the North Florida Central Labor Council believe including apprenticeship programs in the stadium deal would give local workers an opportunity to train and gain hands-on experience.

In a statement, Mayor Donna Deegan said she has developed plans to increase the number of local apprentices working on the stadium renovation.

“The City of Jacksonville, the Jaguars, and local construction leaders have developed a plan to increase the number of local apprentices working on the stadium renovation, and we will continue working together to grow apprenticeship participation in the largest public infrastructure investment in Jacksonville history,” she said in a statement.

The NFCLC is encouraging members to send a letter to council members.

“I am writing to express my full support for the ongoing stadium deal between the City and the Jaguars, provided that we can ensure the involvement of local contractors and registered apprenticeship programs in the construction process,” the letter states. “While this project promises to bring significant benefits to our community, it is crucial that we ensure these benefits are maximized for our local economy and workforce.

“One of the most impactful ways to achieve this is by prioritizing the use of local contractors and integrating registered apprenticeship programs into the construction process. I strongly urge you to advocate for the inclusion of local contractors and registered apprenticeship programs in the stadium deal. This will not only enhance the project’s immediate impact but also ensure long-lasting benefits for our community.”

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