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Norstar Development in partnership with the Pinellas County Housing Authority plan to develop this vacant property along Lake Seminole into a 64-unit housing complex for military veterans.

SEMINOLE — The Pinellas Housing Authority and development partner Norstar USA finally have won full approval of their affordable-housing proposal for veterans — Valor Preserve.

On Jan. 10, City Manager Ann Toney-Deal reported to City Council that the city has issued all required permits for the project, set to include 64 apartments on a 13-acre tract near Lake Seminole.

Brian Evjen, Norstar vice president of development, told Tampa Bay Newspapers that work is expected to begin next month, with a public groundbreaking ceremony likely at a later date. Norstar once hoped to have shovels in the ground by the end of 2022, but that proved to be unrealistic amid long-running dialogue between project backers and city staff.

The housing authority paid almost $1.4 million for the Valor tract, situated at 9575 Seminole Blvd., back in 2013. But it took until 2021 for a plan to develop the site into affordable housing to emerge — only to be shot down by the council over neighborhood residents’ fears of rising crime and sinking property values.

The developers then took a different tact, revising plans to eliminate the need for council review. City staff did need to weigh in, however, and talks over the latest Valor version dragged on for much of 2022.

The city’s community development director, Wesley Wright, said that in the end only some minor tweaks in arrangements for the site’s landscaping were required before the final permits could be issued.