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Development to enliven district

The $20-million Washington Street Crossing project will take up two blocks in the Channel District. Construction on the development, which combines residential and business space, should start by the end of the year. An opening is planned for Spring 2004.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 28, 2002

SHOPS, HOMES COMING TO CHANNEL DISTRICT: That's 26,000 square feet of retail and office space, and 43 urban sky homes.

What's an urban sky home?

"It's a fancy name for a condo," said Dennis Campbell of project developer Channelside Partners.

Campbell shoots straight when touting Washington Street Crossing. "It's going to lend itself toward moving Channel District in the direction the city wants to see it go," he said.

The $20-million project, to be located at 1000 Channelside Drive, will take up two blocks.

A major architectural feature, a glass-enclosed bridge, will span Washington Street and contain a club house, fitness center, and conference room for residents, according to the developers. Topping off the bridge, six stories up, will be an outdoor tiki bar, pool and sun deck with port and downtown vistas.

Campbell said the project's ground floor will occupied by retail businesses and recessed to allow room for walk-up pedestrian traffic, sidewalk cafes and the like. He's hoping to see a mix of tenants supply the burgeoning residential district with everyday services: dry cleanings, dining, banking, insurance and convenience stores.

The condos will range from 2,900 to 4,400 square feet. Prices are expected to start at $350,000, with each unit featuring dual suites, three bathrooms, private parking, balconies facing Channelside Drive, and numerous custom options.

Campbell said construction should start by the end of this year, with occupancy tentatively scheduled for Spring 2004.

Currently, the Club Nebulous nightclub, clothing shop and recording studio project occupies a building that would be razed to make way for Washington Street Crossing. Nebulous has yet to open, but Campbell, who co-owns the property, said it has only 10 months left on its lease. Campbell said he doesn't know what the ultimate plans are for Nebulous, but the possibility of it reappearing as part of Washington Street Crossing's retail mix has been discussed.

Club Nebulous CEO Michael Muzio did not return calls from the Times.

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE, THERE'S WAX: Not long ago, Adrian Wright fired up the cooker at his Platt Street auto detailing shop. By summer's end, he hopes to add indoor seating.

Don't worry. Wright's smoker will remain outside on the northwest corner of Platt and S Boulevard. Stomach-wrenching wafts of fired oak and zingy sauce will continue to perfume the Hyde Park North intersection.

Wright decided to sell barbecue at his Mr. Klean of Hyde Park a few months ago. It caught on with customers waiting on their cars and others in the neighborhood who followed their noses. Before long, Wright offered a full menu. Chicken, ribs, sausage and pork all do time over the oak and charcoal fire. Side dishes are prepared in a recently added indoor kitchen.

Wright also hopes to sell wine and beer with his expansion, and to bottle and sell his three sauces: Mr. Klean's Own, Red Alert, and Aunt Sarah's -- sweet, like its namesake.

Barbecue aficionados: After a taste, your tongue's compass should point you toward Wright's home state of West Virginia.

Football aficionados: Your memory may point you back to the Bucs' late '80s roster, when Wright was listed as fullback.

FONTE CLEANERS' NEW BAG: Nearby, in Courier City, another cleaning business is trying its hand at the restaurant business. Morris Fonte and Sons dry cleaners are expanding one door over to create Mario's in the Park delicatessen. It's slated to open by the first of August, according to co-owner Ronald Fonte.

Tucked away at 614 S Howard Ave., at its busy intersection with Swann Avenue, the deli will primarily offer prepared foods, such as sandwiches and handy breakfast items. Indoor seating isn't planned for now, said Fonte. He said that the venture is named after his father.

-- Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3382, or e-mail

Princess Jamaica birdhouses

Tony up the backyard with a bird-sized McMansion.

Princess Jamaica makes a one-story bird feeder or a two-story birdhouse. Both are topped with stylish verdigris copper roofs. They're easy to install atop a pressure-treated post. Prices range from $140 to $300.

The Garden Party sells accessories for home and garden at 2832 S MacDill Ave. Call 831-7176 for hours.

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