Condo projects in works around town

Among them, Maas Brothers will be razed for one this month. Another is planned for Kennedy Boulevard in the summer.

Published January 5, 2006

TAMPA - Demolition on the old Maas Brothers building downtown is scheduled to begin this month to make way for condominiums.

Atlanta-based Wood Partners wants to build a 33-story, 450-unit condo tower with 12,000 square feet of retail and commercial space on the site. The company has a contract to buy the property from owners Pradip C. Patel, Gregory Hughes and Henry Suarez.

The deal will close if the City Council approves rezoning of the land in March, said Dave Thompson, development associate for Wood Partners.

He wouldn't disclose the sales price of the property, but in December 2004 Patel paid $3.8-million for three of the four parcels on the city block bordered by Tampa, Zack, Franklin and Twiggs streets, including the Maas Brothers department store building. He had said he planned to build 500 condos on the land.

Wood Partners also plans to break ground this summer on an eight-story, 346-unit condo project on Kennedy Boulevard one block east of S Boulevard.

Prices of units haven't been determined for either project, Thompson said.

The two projects mark the developer's entry into Tampa's booming condo market, although the company built an apartment complex in South Tampa several years ago and is close to finishing construction on apartments in Largo.

"Downtown areas are evolving and becoming places people want to live, work, and play once again," Thompson said. "As a company, we have participated in this phenomenon, first in Atlanta, and now in Denver, Miami and Orlando. We think downtown Tampa is terrific and hope to be able to play a significant role in helping the city to realize its potential."

Preston Partnership, an Atlanta architect that designed the 32-story SkyPoint condo tower at Ashley Drive and Zack Street, will design both Wood Partners projects.

Tampa's Historic Preservation Commission approved demolition of the Maas Brothers building at Franklin and Zack streets in November.

Established in 1886, the retail landmark presided over the heart of the city's business district until 1991, when it closed its doors for good. It has been vacant ever since, falling into moldy disrepair and facing a demolition order from the city. In recent years, even the fire marshal and structural engineers have refused to enter the building.

"We had two structural reports that said it was just not going to be economically reasonable to fix the building," said Dennis Fernandez, historic preservation manager.

If approved, the new condominium would add to the growth of N Franklin Street as an urban neighborhood. Several other projects are under way there, including the redevelopment of the historic Kress and Woolworth department stores as 975 condominiums with prices starting at $130,000.

All 20 units at the Arlington, under construction at 1209 N Franklin St., have sold for $140,000 to $325,000. Workers are also raising the walls of the Residences of Franklin Street at 1108 N Franklin St. The eight-story building will have 40 condos ranging from $229,000 to $695,000.

Developers also announced plans for the Carriage House, a 12-unit condo project at 1007 N Franklin St., and Franklin Street City Lofts at 1220 N Franklin St., which will include four units selling for more than $800,000 apiece.

Janet Zink can be reached at 813 226-3401 or jzink@sptimes.com