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Downtown dwellings

Lofts, penthouses, condos, apartments and townhomes: Residential projects are booming in downtown Tampa.

By SUSAN THURSTON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 21, 2003

[Times photo: Boyzell Hosey]
Marica McKeel of RBK Architects stands amid construction at the Channelside 212 Lofts in Tampa. The 28 units in the project, which she helped design, are going for $155,000 to $305,000.

DOWNTOWN -- Politicians, developers and community leaders echo the cry: To make Tampa a first-rate city, people must live downtown.

Residential development has become the buzz phrase among those determined to turn downtown Tampa into a vibrant place to live, work and play. They hope for a thriving, urban community where people walk to their jobs and shop at the corner market.

They see a destination -- even after dark.

In the past year, several projects have emerged to lead the way. From loft developments in the Channel District to riverfront condos in Tampa Heights, the city's center stands to gain thousands of new residents who call downtown home.

"It's time for Tampa to become an 18-hour city," said Nick Pavonetti of the Beck Group, which is developing the Victory Lofts, an 85-unit project in the Channel District.

Developers tell of rising demand. Even if downtown lacks round-the-clock amenities and bustling street life, plenty of people crave the urban setting and quick commutes to work.

Buyers also see potential to benefit from their investment, thanks to projects such as Channelside, the TECO Streetcar Line and the planned cultural arts district.

Earlier this month, interested owners packed a sales party for the Victory Lofts.

"There was a line of people holding their checkbooks," Pavonetti said. "It was marvelous."

Marica McKeel of RBK Architects, which designed the Channelside 212 Lofts, said swift sales prompted her to speed up Phase 2 of her 28-unit project, the area's first.

"I think the area really needed it," she said.

Developers say more and more people are moving back to the cities after years of suburban sprawl. Some are weary of high-maintenance tract homes and want to live closer to urban attractions.

Kevin Zink, who owns land planned for condos in the Channel District, also sees the trend among the younger generation.

"They have an infatuation about living in old warehouses," he said.

"Even Bart Simpson's moving into a loft."

So much is changing, one needs a scorecard to follow the stream of residential development headed toward downtown Tampa.

Here's a rundown of some of the latest building plans:


Channelside 212 Lofts

THE SKINNY: The 28-unit project marks the first major loft development in the Channel District. The first 18 homes sold in about two months. Three remain. Units range from 1,100 to 1,500 square feet. A communal courtyard will join the two buildings. Most buyers are single with no children. The lofts have high ceilings and an open floor design with no interior doors. No two are alike.

LOCATION: 12th Street between Washington Street and Kennedy Boulevard in the Channel District.

DEVELOPER: Adama Development.

TIMETABLE: Construction under way. Owners to start moving in at the end of March or early April.

PRICE TAGS: $155,000 to $305,000.


Cultural District Residential Tower

THE SKINNY: A 25-story condominium tower on city-owned land along the Hillsborough River. The project is part of the planned cultural arts district, which includes a new Tampa Museum of Art, an arts school and a county history museum. The tower will have 100 to 116 units, ranging from 1,100 to 2,500 square feet, plus larger penthouses. The project is still in the design phase, but the developer hopes to have a development agreement with the city in the next 30 days.

LOCATION: Ashley Drive at Curtis Hixon Park, next to the William Poe parking garage.

DEVELOPER: Byrd Corp. of Clearwater.

TIMETABLE: Developer plans to set up a sales office at the site in 60 to 90 days. Construction to start in summer 2004 and take about two years.

PRICE TAGS: About $200,000 to $500,000

FOR INFORMATION: Contact Byrd Corp. at 314-9104.


Rendering from Byrd Corp. of Clearwater

THE SKINNY: The 20-story condominium building stands as the tallest on Harbour Island. The 64 units offer scenic views of downtown, Channelside and cruise ships. Condos range from about 1,800 to 3,800 square feet. The eight penthouse units come as unfinished shells that owners design to taste. Residents buy for the views and the maintenance-free lifestyle. Ten units remain for sale.

LOCATION: Channelside Walkway on Harbour Island across from the Waterside Marriott.

DEVELOPER: Byrd Corp. of Clearwater.

TIMETABLE: Construction nearly complete. First residents start moving in at the end of this month.

PRICE TAGS: $235,000 for two-bedroom units to $969,000 for a penthouse shell.

FOR INFORMATION: Call the sales office at 314-9104.

Meridian Street Lofts

THE SKINNY: Twenty townhomes proposed for an old warehouse, formerly used to store records. The project includes live/work units with street-level offices and upstairs living space. The two-story units will range from 900 to 2,200 square feet and have optional rooftop gardens with downtown views. The facade will match the Mediterranean-style Channelside.

LOCATION: Meridian and Washington streets in the Channel District.

DEVELOPER: Land owners Kevin and Tim Zink are taking bids from developers.

TIMETABLE: Finishing architectural plans and working on the financing. The property owners expect to start taking deposits this summer. Construction scheduled to start in early 2004 and take a year.

PRICE TAGS: $150,000 to $300,000.

FOR INFORMATION: Call Kevin or Tim Zink at 273-9226.

Newkirk project (unnamed)

THE SKINNY: A 27-loft project with a courtyard, individual balconies, rooftop pool and live/work areas. Units will range from 800 square feet to more than 3,000. The project is the dream of Mark Newkirk, president of the development group, whose family owns Newk's Cafe. A former busboy, Newkirk used to cut through the Channel District on his way to Ybor City and thought it would be a wonderful place to live.

LOCATION: Between 11th and 12th streets and Washington and Whiting streets in the Channel District.

DEVELOPER: Channelside Developers.

TIMETABLE: Under contract with the land owner and scheduled to close on the property in three weeks. Construction expected to start in June. Move-ins set for early 2004.

PRICE TAGS: $140,000 and up.

FOR INFORMATION: Call Mark Newkirk at 431-2222.

One Bayshore

Rendering courtesy of Crescent Ressources

THE SKINNY: The condo, townhouse, apartment and retail complex offers high-rise living steps from downtown, the Convention Center and scenic Bayshore Boulevard. The project features a 17-story condo building of 1,000- to 1,900-square-foot units and a 25-story apartment building. The Parkside condo building has a seven-story wing with a rooftop pool. Corner units have circular-shaped living rooms with huge windows facing Hillsborough Bay.

LOCATION: Southwest corner of Bayshore Boulevard and Platt Street.

DEVELOPER: Crescent Resources, the land division of Duke Energy.

TIMETABLE: Taking reservations now. Construction to start at the end of March with move-ins set for late 2004 or early 2005.

PRICE TAGS: $259,000 to $656,000 for condos; apartment rents haven't been determined.

FOR INFORMATION: Call sales agent Jim Walters at 839-3800.



THE SKINNY: An eight-story rental community goes up along the Garrison Channel next to the Harbour Island Boulevard bridge. Plans call for two-story townhomes and one- to four-bedroom apartments. Tenants will have access to a waterside pool and spa, a clubhouse with fitness and business centers, an activities room and billiards. Eventually, the complex may convert to condominiums.

LOCATION: Harbour Island Boulevard across from the Waterside Marriott Hotel.

DEVELOPER: CKT Development Co.

TIMETABLE: Construction to start early next month. First tenants scheduled to move in about July 2004.

PRICE TAGS: $900 to $2,000 a month

FOR INFORMATION: Call Cindy Taylor at 222-8982.

Tampa Heights Riverfront Project

THE SKINNY: 300 condos and 75 single-family homes planned on 12 acres along the Hillsborough River. Residents will have access to two pools, a hot tub, fitness center, business center, community room, tennis court and a riverwalk. The public-private project was designed to spearhead the revitalization and redevelopment of the riverfront and Tampa Heights areas.

LOCATION: N Boulevard and Palm Avenue, along the river.

DEVELOPER: Bank of America Community Development Corp.

TIMETABLE: Construction to start by year's end. Move-ins scheduled for fall of 2004 at the earliest; final phase in 2008.

PRICE TAGS: Estimated $150,000 to about $300,000.


12th Street City Yard

THE SKINNY: Four developers have submitted bids to buy and develop 7.5 acres of city-owned land currently used as an operations yard. Proposals range from two-story townhomes to a 750-unit condo and apartment complex. Each call for substantial retail and office space, including a chain or specialty grocery store.

LOCATION: Northwest corner of 12th and Twiggs streets in the Channel District.

DEVELOPER: To be decided.

TIMETABLE: Mayor Dick Greco hopes to have an agreement signed with one of the developers before he leaves office at the end of March. Construction could take two to four years.

PRICE TAGS: Proposals range from about $100,000 to $500,000 per unit.

Victory Lofts

THE SKINNY: An 85-unit condominium project boasts a variety of lofts, flats, penthouses and live/work studios. Plans call for converting a 1925 former automobile warehouse into living space and constructing a seven-story building. The units will range from 800-square-foot lofts to 3,500-square-foot penthouses. Commercial use is planned for the ground floor.

LOCATION: 12th and Whiting streets in the Channel District.

DEVELOPER: Beck and the Giunta Group.

TIMETABLE: Taking reservations now. Construction to start in the summer and last a year. Move-ins scheduled for early summer 2004.

PRICE TAGS: $160,000 to more than $800,000, although everything under $300,000 is reserved.


Washington Street Crossing

THE SKINNY: A 45-unit condominium project featuring a glass-enclosed bridge across Washington Street with a rooftop pool, clubhouse, fitness center and conference room. The six-story complex will have a mix of residential, office and retail space. The "sky homes" range from 1,200 to 3,100 square feet with "Mardi Gras" balconies.

LOCATION: Channelside Drive at Washington Street in the Channel District.

DEVELOPER: Channelside Partners.

TIMETABLE: Completing the financing now. Construction scheduled to begin this fall and last 14 months. Residents to start moving in about spring 2005.

PRICE TAGS: $350,000 and up.

FOR INFORMATION: Call Dennis Campbell, managing partner of Channelside Partners, at (727) 424-4487.

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