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Hyde Park North

Condos aimed at first-time buyers

The old Hyde Park Place apartment complex is turned into condominiums, with units averaging $118,000.

By SUSAN THURSTON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 28, 2003


It's a grim reality facing many home buyers with their hearts set on South Tampa: Pickings are slim without a fat wallet.

Real estate agent Anthony Everett knows the situation well. He sees it again and again among young professionals and first-time buyers looking for a place of their own.

"There's nothing for someone just starting out," said Everett, the son of prominent South Tampa real estate agent Toni Everett.

With that in mind, he and a group of investors bought Hyde Park Place, an apartment complex on Horatio Street, just north of Swann Avenue in Hyde Park North.

Everett had his eye on the property for months with the hope of turning it into low-cost condos. Hyde Park Ventures finally bought it last summer for $5.7-million and began renovations in August.

Units average $118,000, making them cheaper than most condos under construction in Hyde Park or planned for downtown. Sales started in December, and 70 of the 95 units sold in the first month, Everett said. As of last week, eight remained.

"It was crazy for a while," he said. "We're still seeing people who want to put in backup offers."

Most of the buyers are single professionals who work in the area. They liked the price and the location, within walking distance of Bayshore Boulevard and Old Hyde Park Village.

"All of them want to be in a location where they don't have to drive very far," Everett said. "It's so hard to find anything in Hyde Park under $125,000."

Amanda Delorto bought a two-bedroom unit for $150,000 after renting in South Tampa for three years. She was tired of paying someone else's mortgage but couldn't find anything in her price range.

"I was looking and really getting discouraged," said the single 27-year-old. "I think this is great for someone in my position."

Developers spent $1.5-million updating the 1987 apartment complex, originally called Stratford Place. Each unit got a complete makeover, including new appliances, cabinets, crown molding and carpeting. For an extra cost, owners can buy hardwood floors and luxury finishes.

"You go in and it feels like a new unit," Everett said.

Condos range from a 600-square-foot one-bedroom to a 1,100-square-foot two-bedroom. Owners have street-level garage parking and access to a pool, Jacuzzi, fitness center and meeting rooms. All units have working fireplaces, a rarity in South Tampa.

About 15 previous tenants decided to buy units. In some cases, their monthly payment went down, even with the $153 to $275 association fee.

Some residents moved in a few weeks ago, but the majority will close in the next month.

-- Susan Thurston can be reached at 226-3394 or thurston@sptimes.com .

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