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Rahdert to add luster to apartments

The lawyer with a string of downtown properties will create four units in a building where, he is told, Albert Whitted resided.

By SHARON BOND

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 22, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- The stripped down, see-through structure at 350 Fourth Ave. S will be an apartment house in about two months, and its renters could be in rooms where city pioneer Albert Whitted once lived.

photo
[Times photo: Dirk Shadd]
Don Moisier applies a gel coat to the front deck at the Albert Whitted House on Tuesday.
The Albert Whitted House will have four apartments: three with two bedrooms and one with one bedroom and a study. Lawyer George Rahdert, who added the house to his string of about 30 downtown buildings he either has renovated or is refurbishing, described the project as "high end" and meant for downtown workers or even students at the University of South Florida.

"It was sort of a six-unit tenement type apartment operation," said Rahdert, who handles First Amendment cases for the Times. "It had been through a couple of owners. The primary residents of late have been termites."

Rahdert paid $40,000 for the apartment building and is spending about that much to refurbish it. He described its style as blended Victorian and Craftsman. Rent for the four units has not been decided, he said.

Rahdert believes the house, built in 1905, once was the residence of Albert Whitted, for whom the nearby airport was named. "It may be urban legend, but that's what I'm told." Research didn't yield anything definitive, he said.

Albert Whitted is said by many historians to be the one who introduced St. Petersburg to the wonders of flying. Most people think of Tony Jannus, who piloted the first scheduled flight between St. Petersburg and Tampa in 1914, when they think of the beginning of aviation here.

Whitted, who was born in St. Petersburg, was in the aviation corps during World War I. In 1919 he started a commercial flying enterprise in the Vinoy Basin. He took people for scenic rides and also gave flying lessons.

Whitted was killed in an airplane crash in 1923.

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