by The Gainesville Alliancefor Equitable Development
For years, Seminary Lane Apartments – located in one of Gainesville’s oldest historically black neighborhoods – was home to citizens who needed an affordable housing solution to their economic woes.
After years of neglect and disinvestment, the 2-story townhouse-style apartment homes fell into disrepair and, in 2009, were torn down with the promise to tenants that more suitable affordable housing would be built for them at the Seminary Lane site.
Instead of keeping this promise, the residents and their families were displaced and, for roughly 10 years, the property that these citizens once called home has remained vacant. The promise to rebuild Seminary Lane has remained unfulfilled.
Recently, a developer from Orlando made an offer to purchase the Seminary Lane property with plans to build a 5-6 story student housing complex consisting of over 350 units with 3 beds each.
In recent years the community surrounding Seminary Lane has seen an influx of housing catering to students (approx. 6 apartment complexes/clusters and numerous rental houses). The completion of this newest complex would mean that over 1,000 additional transient students would occupy a mid-rise building, bringing with them increased traffic, noise, trash, and a student culture that would not only alter the character of the community, but contribute to the erasure of the indigenous people and culture of this historic residential and business district that has been in existence since Reconstruction.
The developer has publicly stated that there will be only one commercial entity that will be housed in the mid-rise (with its owners receiving a penthouse). This business is not minority-owned and is new when compared to the other existing businesses in the area that are owned by African Americans. He has also stated that though he does not have to, he will include 6-8 “affordable homes” down the street from the mid-rise.
The inclusion of only one business that is non-minority owned in the mid-rise, and only 6-8 affordable homes (3 percent of total) compared to over 350 units of student housing is gentrification and inequitable development.
Join us and sign a petition telling the Gainesville Florida Housing Corporation Inc., the Gainesville Housing Authority, our City Commissioners and the leadership of Gainesville to:
Cease all activities regarding the sale of this property and conduct a full investigation of the deal and the laws pertaining to the property’s sale.
Implement and uphold the principles outlined in the Equity Plan introduced by Commissioner Gail Johnson and practice community stabilization by advancing racial and economic equity in housing.
Transform how developers work with the community to create places that represent local priorities and create opportunities for the indigenous people and business owners of the community.
Make good on the promise to former Seminary Lane Residents and the citizens of Gainesville by building housing on this site that they and others in economically similar situations can afford.
The petition is available at: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/petition-to-stand-for-seminary-lane or tinyurl.com/Iguana1009
Thank you for your support! Visit the Alliance at https://www.facebook.com/gainesville-alliance-for-equitable-development-48727811535832/ or tinyurl.com/Iguana1009.