Rentals may replace cells at former Bradenton jail

Developers proposed turning the former Manatee County Jail into a 100-unit apartment building

Oct.October 01, 2016 05:45 PM

A developer is trying to convert a former county jail in downtown Bradenton to a 100-unit apartment building catering to young professionals.

Bernard Croghan heads a group of developers that proposed a multifamily redevelopment of the six-story jail at 1501 Manatee Avenue West, which has been vacant for 10 years. He  estimates that the project would cost at least  $9.5 million. Manatee County staff are reviewing the jail redevelopment proposal.

Croghan recounted his first visit to the jail earlier this year in an interview with the Business Observer: “It was a hot, dark prison. But it was also smack dab in the middle of everything.”

His group proposed a redevelopment inspired by the dormitory-style properties that WeWork and WeLive operate, complete with a laundry room that also serves as a recreation room and a rooftop barbecue deck that once was a basketball court for prisoners.

Croghan said monthly rents at the 100-unit apartment building would range from $600 to $900.

Rents that low are scarce in Bradenton, said Ogden Clark, an employee of Manatee County Neighborhood Services and co-founder of a group called Manatee Millennial Movement.

“There is virtually no housing in downtown Bradenton millennials could afford,” Ogden told the Business Observer. “This project could be very beneficial.” [Business Observer] — Mike Seemuth

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