After years of increasing enrollment, the number of students in the Pinellas County schools has now decreased enough that schools are closing. Don Shea, head of the Downtown Partnership, has thought of a possible solution both for empty school buildings and for affordable housing.
Shea is considering converting Euclid Elementary School, a two story building from the 1940s, into 9 condos and then to build a dozen or so townhomes surrounding it. To keep costs down, he proposes that the land be owned by a community land trust. He estimates a 3 bedroom unit would sell for $170,000 - half the typical price. Teachers would be the target buyers, and 3/4 of the profits on resales would go back to the trust - primarily to discourage investors. Shea is currently negotiating with the Pinellas County School Board.