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Taking root in Ybor City

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 19, 2002

LIVING IT UP: Ybor City is known largely as party central. But could the historic district one day come full circle and see a return of residents?

Brenda Thrower at the Ybor City Development Corp. said there's been a lot of activity in the neighborhoods south and east of the historic district. Two residential projects, Camden Ybor City apartments and the 16 townhomes in Las Palmas de Ybor, were completed last year. Up next: the Ybor Village Lofts on Fifth Avenue between 19th and 20th streets.

Developer William Dobson, an architect at Robbins Bell & Kreher, is set to break ground on the first phase of the Ybor Village Lofts in early August. All but one of the eight units have been presold. They range from 912 to 1,453 square feet, have two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a price tag of $138,000 to $220,000.

ON THE RISE: Byrd Corp. announced the completion late last month of the concrete structure for the GrandView on Harbour Island, the island's tallest building. The 21-story GrandView is situated on Garrison Channel, across from the Ice Palace and Marriott Waterside Hotel.

When completed, the GrandView is expected to contain 56 two- and three-bedroom residences of 1,800 to 2,300 square feet; eight penthouse suites of more than 3,800 square feet; and a ground-floor restaurant that will be open to the public.

Residents will enjoy wrap-around balconies, views of the Tampa skyline, boat slips, the services of a concierge, and use of a free HARTline service that shuttles Harbour Island residents to and from the heart of downtown Tampa.

A Tampa real estate broker, Toni Everett Co., is selling the homes in GrandView, which is 80 percent sold. Remaining residences include two penthouses going for $945,000 and $925,000, one three-bedroom condo for $490,000 and a handful of two-bedroom homes on the seventh floor and above ranging in price from $400,000 to $500,000.

OF INTEREST: With Tampa property values soaring and interest rates at historic lows, it's a good time to consider a home equity line of credit to consolidate debt, said Roland Wilson, a mortgage broker at Home Equity Financial Services in Tampa.

With good credit, homeowners can get a home equity line starting at 4.75 percent for up to 100 percent of the value of their homes.

They can use the extra cash to pay off high-interest, non-tax-deductible credit card debt or car loans.

Wilson said loan payments fluctuate along with the interest rate, but it would take ages for the prime to reach the rate of most credit cards. He handles as many as 10 home equity lines each month, about double what he did a year ago, he said.

-- Write to Janet Zink in care of the St. Petersburg Times at 1000 N Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602; or by e-mail,

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