A low-income housing developer is suing the City of Tampa for choosing to fund a city project rather than its 102-unit senior housing project.
In December 2015, Madison Highlands purchased a vacant lot at 5315 N. 37th St. in Tampa where it planned to develop the property.
Madison Highlands — owned and managed by Patrick E. Law — proposed a low-income housing option for seniors. However, the project needed financial backing from the city.
The organization applied to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), to obtain necessary tax credits to begin development.
In total, the project would require $20 million in loans.
There are two requirements of the FHFC Request for Application (RFA). Developers submitting an FHFC RFA must select either a Local Government Preference (LGP) or Local Government Contribution (LGC).
Applicants who select and qualify for LGP receive 10 points in the process, with only one project receiving the LGP. Multiple applicants can receive an LGC.
Both LGC and LGP work as ways for the local government to select which affordable housing developer will receive tax credits through FHFC.
On Sept. 30, 2016, the City of Tampa eliminated all competing projects when it made its final written decision to support an “area of opportunity” funding to one of its own projects, and not any alternative.
The suit claims the city chose to fund its own project over the others without notice or any form of a public hearing. In its complaint, Madison says city officials failed to solicit or accept applications, did not provide selection criteria, nor did they document the selection process.
Madison Highlands is requesting the court review whether due process has been afforded, whether all laws have been followed and whether the judgment and findings of the city are supported by evidence.
Per the properties application for housing financing, Law is both the manager of Madison Highlands and owner of 99.9 percent of the company,
Law also owns American Residential Development, the developer behind Madison Highlands. The company has completed two other properties: Madison Heights in Tampa, and Madison Reserve in Spring Hill.
Madison Heights, which provides housing for low-to-moderate income seniors, is at 1250 N. Marion St.