Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Workforce Housing Gaining Traction | Apartment Project Sited for 30 Acres on Knights Trail in Venice

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Workforce Housing Gaining Traction | Apartment Project Sited for 30 Acres on Knights Trail in Venice

Article excerpt

SOUTH COUNTY

VENICE -- A nascent plan to build more than 500 apartments on 29.9 acres on Knights Trail Road will debut March 13 at a neighborhood meeting.

The complex, dubbed "John Nolen Acres," grew from a series of meetings with representatives of PGT and Tervis Tumbler, the United Way of South Sarasota County, the mayors of Venice and North Port, a local real estate agent and a developer/apartment manager.

The initial meetings, organized by Venice Mayor John Holic, began as a way to quantify the need for workforce housing in South County. Holic bowed

out almost four months ago, at roughly the same time talks turned to the types of zoning the group would need to pursue with the city. Holic said his goal was to get the right people in the room together to talk about the housing needs of area workers.

"We had gotten to that point, by having the right people together and finding out that in our area alone, there's a need for over 1,200 affordable units, which opened the eyes of people who build buildings like that and they became interested," Holic said. "When they became interested, I didn't need to know anything more."

PGT and Tervis, two of the largest employers in the Triple Diamond Planned Industrial Development, have been especially proactive in finding ways to meet the needs of their workforce. The March 13 meeting will be hosted at PGT Industries, 1070 Technology Drive, Venice.

In April, PGT bought land to build an 81,000-square-foot daycare center that would be open 24 hours per day, six days a week, and would be available for the children of its employees and other businesses at Triple Diamond.

Last summer, PGT and Tervis worked with Sarasota County to add four routes to Sarasota County Area Transit buses between the Knights Trail-Laurel Road area and North Port, to accommodate workers on all shifts.

Fostering the construction of workforce housing a half-mile away is the most recent step.

As envisioned, John Nolen Acres would be developed to offer rents for line manufacturing and service workers earning $11 to $15 an hour.

The complex is anticipated to include:

[broken bar] Studio efficiency apartments renting for $750 a month plus utilities. …

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