TAMPA, FLA.—A public-private partnership has turned around a blighted foreclosed property with the help of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) authorized under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

Formerly known as Holiday Oaks, the 38-unit property was built in the early 1980s and had been purchased by an out-of-town investor back in the heyday to do a condo conversion. Those plans went downhill after the real estate bubble burst, and the property fell into disrepair. The water and electricity had been turned off , sewage had backed up, and there was no management to speak of. Six or seven people had been living at the property and were moving between the units, and no one had paid rent in close to a year, says Bowen Arnold, president of DDA Development Co.

DDA Development acquired the property in a short sale from JPMorgan Chase Bank and teamed with the city of Tampa, Mental Health Care, Inc., and Framework Group to do a comprehensive renovation.

The city of Tampa provided $2.9 million in NSP1 funding for the land acquisition and gut rehab. The shell of the building was in good shape, but everything else needed to be replaced. Over about six months, tile floors, plumbing, and electrical systems were replaced, and solar panels were installed to power the laundry room. Other green features included low-VOC paints and energy-efficient doors, windows, and appliances.

The newly named Mariposa was close to being leased up at press time; 75 percent of the units are serving residents at 50 percent of the area median income (AMI), with the remaining units at 80 percent of the AMI. The property is managed by Mental Health Care, a private, nonprofit behavioral health care system in the area.

Mental Health Care, which has mostly Sec. 811 supportive-housing projects, off ers counseling and a full palate of services for the mentally disabled. Arnold says this project is helping the nonprofit expand its portfolio and reach in Tampa on the multifamily side.

“Demand is going to far outstrip supply [at Mariposa],” says Arnold, adding that he expects much of the interest to come from seniors because of the project's proximity to a local hospital and medical corridor.

Arnold says he thinks the NSP program has been very successful. DDA Development is working on the 55-unit Elizabeth Arms in West Tampa with the same partner and NSP2 funds. They also are in the process of applying for an NSP3 grant.

“We put a lot of people to work. Hundreds of people worked on the site over the six months,” he says. “It had an absolute stimulative eff ect in our micro area, and we wish there was more money. We could do 30 projects in the Tampa area just like this one."

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) agreed. “I know out there in the world that the stimulus or the Recovery Act has gotten caught up in this political back and forth ... Did it work? Did it not work? Well, look around here right now. It has worked here."