Families looking for affordable housing options may soon be in luck in Manatee County.

  • Businessman wants to buy Knights Inn and turn it into affordable housing
  • Manatee County commissioners vote Thursday, 4-3, to re-zone the property
  • The plan includes turning the hotel into furnished apartments with water, electricity and cable

Local businessman, Harvey Vengroff, wants to buy the Knights Inn, located near the intersection of US 301 and US 41, in Bradenton, and turn it into affordable housing.

On Thursday morning, county commissioners voted to re-zone the property, 4 to 3, giving the current property owner 31 days to challenge it.

“We have someone coming in and willing to invest and take a chance to do something that I believe is very great for that area,” said Charles Smith, Manatee County Commissioner.

If there are no problems with the zoning change and everything moves forward, the buyer plans to purchase the property for $4.4 million in July and spend another $1 million in renovations.

The plans include turning the 220-rooms at the Knights Inn into furnished apartments with water, electricity and cable for only about $600 a month. The buyer also wants to add two bedroom apartments onto the property.

“I think the complex is going to bring up the area and bring more jobs here, said Ella Powell, who owns Doolittle Infant Care Center, right across the street from the motel.

While most have shown support for the change, some nearby residents said they are not so sure it will be a good thing for the area.

“We would just like to have something to better the neighborhood and not bring it down,” said Edith West, who has owned a home near the motel with her husband for 51-years.

West said she thinks adding more people to the area could lower their home values.

But, with a lack of affordable housing available in Manatee, those who support the change hope it will bring relief.