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Affordable Housing is the Key Issue for Downtown St. Pete Development

Pyper, Inc. has had the privilege to work with the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership for the fourth consecutive year on the production of the annual Downtown Development Guide, in collaboration with Sarah Lindemuth, the Research Director at Meshsem, a local research firm. This fourth edition guide showcases the projects and progress, as well as opportunities requiring careful consideration for economic development in our city’s downtown.

The Partnership launched the 2023 Guide in Q1 this year at the newly established Development Summit, bringing together community leaders, both public and private, to discuss the issues brought forth in the research. For the first time, we added additional content online and incorporated QR codes throughout the guide making it easy for readers to access deeper stories and raw data online. 

The continued development seen along Downtown St. Pete’s skyline has raised concerns about the increase in rental rate and property values, thereby decreasing the affordability of St. Petersburg. This became a critical component of the 2023 update for St. Petersburg. 

A Website to Tell a Story

Through the development of the annual guide and many community conversations, The Downtown Partnership recognized a need for a data repository to articulate, not only what progress has been made towards increasing affordable housing in our community, but also measuring what the actual need is and what initiatives exist to support development in this area. 

The Partnership turned to Pyper, Inc. to develop a website that would share the data publicly for policy makers, developers, and public-private partnerships to start to track progress in the data and find areas of opportunity and collaboration.

Debuted at the March Developer’s Council meeting, hosted by the Downtown Partnership, Pyper, Inc. and Meshsem presented the new website, which:

  • Outlines progress of goals to be met,
  • Measures the need by zip code, based on census data,
  • Lists actions already taken to address the need
  • Includes a glossary of relevant terms. 

Coverage of the event and debut of the website includes:

Designing Data

When Pyper, Inc. received the raw data, it was a multiple-tab spreadsheet full of numbers, including progress goals, action taken to address these goals, lists of developments contributing to the progress, and city demographic data. Our task was to tell the story, why this was important, and make the data digestible for website visitors. 

In the beginning stages of  web development, a key part of our process was testing potential functionality and widgets in order to make sure the information was easily comprehensible for our visitors. In cataloging the zip code data, we included a design that gave each zip code its own “card” with its respective data and utilized small widgets that could be filtered to more easily compare zip codes side-by-side. We also integrated a map function showcasing all the proposed and under construction development projects addressing affordable and workforce housing. Each map pin contains details of the development, including number of units  by type. The site’s glossary includes a  searchable function to quickly look up unknown terms. Finally, our actions taken page is filterable by who the various actions benefit: developers, homeowners, or renters—so people can find information relevant to them.

As housing data and our community demographics are ever changing, the site will be updated quarterly and annually with project information and zip code data based on when it becomes available. 

Visit the new website:

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