Exclusive: Related Group’s president talks about ‘Tampa’s moment,’ groundbreaking at West River project and more

Miami-based Related Group, along with the Tampa Housing Authority, celebrated its groundbreaking at its latest Tampa project, Canopy at West River.

The event commemorated Related Urban’s most recent milestone in the redevelopment project, which will result in a 150-acre mixed-income community. Once complete, the project will consist of two towers with 196 public, affordable and workforce units. The project is expected to be complete by October 2023.

Related Group is also the developer of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Tampa, a high-end residential community on Bayshore Boulevard.

The Canopy is the seventh of the 13 phases of the total project. When all completed phases are finished, the West River redevelopment will have more than 1,800 residential units of affordable, workforce and market-rate rentals, in addition to single family homes and 250,000 square feet of commercial and office space.

The property also has plans for a neighborhood park, which will include a National Football League obstacle course designed and operated by the NFL Alumni Chapter.

Tampa Bay Business and Wealth reached out to Related Group’s president, Jon Paul Perez, to learn more about the project and Related Urban’s plans for the Tampa Bay area.

You’re doubling down on your efforts in Tampa, why?

Tampa is having a moment – people and corporations continue migrating in droves, into the city, due to its attractive lifestyle, gorgeous weather and friendly tax and business climate. This environment has led to pent-up real estate demand that has translated into higher rental rates, lower vacancies and higher prices for well-located condominiums.

We felt it was critical to use our development expertise to help address this demand, and fill in any housing gaps, especially in the affordable market. We look to continue employing our signature brand of lifestyle-infused properties and focus on mixed-income development, to revitalize neighborhoods and create prosperous communities across the region.

Related works both in affordable housing and luxury residential projects? That’s unique. What is the reasoning behind that?

Although we are internationally acclaimed for our luxury condominium development, Related’s corporate ethos is to deliver quality housing that everyone can feel proud to call home, regardless of economic means.

My father, Jorge Pérez, the founder of Related Group, got his start in the late 1970s developing affordable housing in South Florida neighborhoods. These were some of the most fulfilling projects for him and he wanted to ensure the company would continue this commitment to 1) providing housing for all and 2) create economically diverse neighborhoods that improve the quality of life for entire communities.

Today, we have a large division entirely dedicated to affordable and mixed-income housing and have over 12,000 units underway. We hope our approach inspires others in our industry to follow suit.

What is the most exciting thing for you on this project, at the West River?

This project is one of the most important to Related because we are providing beautifully designed, safe and accessible homes for many struggling families that are being priced out of nearby residential communities.

We are also incredibly grateful for the City of Tampa’s support and the opportunity to help the city reach its full potential. We couldn’t have achieved any of this without our close partnership with the City of Tampa and the Tampa Housing Authority.

This is, without a doubt, one of the projects that brings me the most personal fulfillment and I can’t wait to continue our mission to help build an equitable Tampa with opportunities for all.

What’s next for Related in the Tampa market?

We currently have over $1.5 billion in development across the region – ranging from luxury condominiums to affordable housing – and look forward to growing our presence over the coming years.

Most recently, we launched the second tower at our first luxury condominium in the area, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Tampa. The project represents Ritz-Carlton’s first residential Tampa property and it is bringing an all-new level of bespoke living to Central Florida. We’re excited to continue elevating Tampa’s visibility as a world-class destination.

Beyond luxury, we continue to aggressively add much-needed affordable and workforce housing stock. Alongside Tampa Housing Authority, we’re continuing to make progress on subsequent phases of the $500M mixed-use, mixed-income, West River redevelopment project – Tampa Bay’s oldest affordable housing project.

We’re also proud to have been selected as the master developer for Rome Yards, granting us the opportunity to engage all Related’s divisions and create a mixed-income, multi-generational community, unlike anything the city has seen before.

We have no plans of slowing down and continue to actively look for sites in Tampa and St. Petersburg for new, affordable, market-rate and luxury products.

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