New homes may sprout in 'urban village' area
By JON WILSON
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 7, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- Thirteen new townhomes are planned for a heartland neighborhood showing signs of life after years of relative torpor.
Developer Judiann Wright-Cummings hopes to break ground this spring on Urban Village One on First Avenue N between 24th and 25th streets, which is in the middle of the reviving Grand Central District.
Wright-Cummings envisions three-story townhomes with a garage, costing in the $175,000 to $200,000 range and aimed at attracting younger professionals. "I would say a young couple with a kid, or two singles," Wright-Cummings said.
The two-bedroom homes would be built in three sizes, but exact square footage hasn't been determined pending completion of architectural plans. Wright-Cummings said three banks have expressed interest in financing the project.
Residents and businesses want to remake the Grand Central District into a residential-retail neighborhood with small shops, restaurants and galleries.
Born of the Central Avenue Tomorrow planning initiative, the area between First Avenues N and S and 19th and 34th streets received an "urban village" zoning designation specifically to encourage such development.
Nearly a half-century has passed since a residential development like Wright-Cummings' project has come to the neighborhood, planners say.
The townhomes would meld nicely with continuing renovation in Historic Kenwood, said Bob Jeffrey, the city's urban design manager. Historic Kenwood nudges Grand Central on its northern boundary.
Several large-scale enterprises are in the works at the district's west end near Central Plaza.
The new $11-million YMCA is rising at 3200 First Ave. S. Hospice of the Florida Suncoast plans to build a $2-million-plus south county headquarters at 3050 First Ave. S. And the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority plans to expand its bus transfer station and move it off Central Avenue to 32nd Street between Central and First Avenue S.
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