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Lofts are all the rage for hip urban living

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 22, 2002

SOHO LOFTS: are SOLD OUT. That's what the big banner lashed to the top story of the industrial minimalist apartment building inside the triangle created by Armenia Avenue, Platt and Azeele streets, says.

But don't despair, aspiring urban villagers. The next line on the banner says, "Look for new lofts coming soon."

Lofts, don't you know, are the new buzzword for urban living in these parts. That's why SoHo Lofts' eight units, which were completed almost a year ago, were sold in short order, mainly in the low $200,000s.

That's why lofts are all the rage in Tampa's Channel District.

And that's also why there are two more loft projects, with similarly bold industrial looks, slated for construction in South Tampa. SoHo Lofts property manager Patty Ragland says one will be on De Leon Street near MacDill Avenue, and another "somewhere in South Tampa." She wouldn't dish out completion dates, either. But that just makes these things more hip, right?

Each project will on the same scale as SoHo Lofts, with about eight to 10 units. You can call Ragland at 253-0424.

IT'S A LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY: And almost as long to Kinsale. But Mary O'Grady and husband Mike Minihane, owners of O'Grady's Irish Pub in Ybor City, are headed back to their hometown in Ireland regardless.

After opening only last September at 1823 E Seventh Ave., they've decided to close their doors and find a buyer for the business. Can't remember which Ybor Irish pub O'Grady's was? Minihane said it was the "very sexy Irish bar. We would be the antidote to Four Green Fields." He also added that "this is a very good country to do business in. But we miss Ireland too much."

And so he and his wife are departing to take the reigns of an inn back home. Minihane insists that if you find yourself in Kinsale, drop by the Folk House, or ring him there at 021-477-7866.

YBOR SHUFFLE: A dance too well known to Ybor club goers continues. The former Club Kaos, which was the former Jellyrolls, will open March 2 as VIP Nightclub. Owner Ron Pownall says the concept here is upscale. Like in South Beach. Like in New York. Are we getting the picture?

That means members only. Memberships are $100 a year. 21 and over? You betcha.

Inside the building at 1812 N 17th St. it's all stainless steel, marble, granite, and simulated coral pillars. If the club itself doesn't seem exclusive enough, it gets even more exclusive inside: three VIP rooms, eight private patios out back.

Pownall says Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, former Phoenix Suns center (and local bison enthusiast) Matt Geiger and rapper Ludacris will be hanging on opening night. Plus live dancers and fire eaters.

The man Pownall bought Club Kaos from, Paul Diaz, is remodeling his club Platforms at 1625 E Seventh Ave. It originally opened as a '70s-themed club, but now is evolving into an '80s nostalgia emporium. The club's westernmost wing, which was once Adams City Hatters, is being converted to a live music room.

- Do you know something that should be Everybody's Business? Call Michael Canning at 226-3408 or e-mail him

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