Developer: Sage Partners

Architect: Urban Studio Architects

Major Funders: Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Florida Housing Finance Corp.; Tampa Community Redevelopment Agency  

Metro 510 is a blend of old and new. The heart of the development is the historic St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, which served as the meeting grounds for Tampa, Fla.'s civil rights movement.

In recent years the congregation dwindled, and the building fell into disrepair. Recognizing it was time to move on, church leaders sold the property to local developer Sage Partners in 2010.

Entrusted with the landmark building, the firm executed an innovative plan.

Sage Partners built a new building on the parking lot, creating 120 loft-style apartments for residents earning no more than 35 percent and 60 percent of the area median income. It is the first family workforce housing community in Tampa's urban core.

It then repurposed the church into the life center for the residents, including turning the sanctuary into an indoor play area. In a nod to the church's history, the names of all the pastors and congregation leaders are engraved along a Walk of Legends. The firm also restored and backlit the stained glass, a move that beautified the building and satisfied Tampa's public art requirement.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve a historic church and tell its history and set it up for the next 100 years,” says Debra Koehler, company president.

The $27.1 million development was financed largely with low-income housing tax credit equity from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and tax credit exchange funds.