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22-story apartment building planned to replace troubled Onyx night club

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Last spring the long-troubled Onyx nightclub closed its doors after years of illegal drug activity and at least one shooting. Now the space located at 211 Third St. S. is slated for something all new:  a 22-story apartment tower.

According to St. Pete Rising, Ken Heretick of Vector Properties currently owns the property. American Land Ventures has entered into a contract to purchase the space.

The plans are a welcome change to the block after the troubled history of parts of it. The space was once home to St. Pete’s theater staple, American Stage. When the group moved a few blocks north, it was snatched up by shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and transformed into Scene.

That club quickly had problems with drug traffic, one confirmed shooting, and another suspected. Under new ownership, Onyx was given six months by the city’s Nuisance Abatement Board to clean up its act. It closed in April.

Further details on the proposed residential space aren’t available. However, American Land Ventures has taken up residence in several other St. Pete spots. An 18-story apartment is going up directly across the street from the proposed Onyx development.

St. Petersburg is in a housing boom of downtown apartments. The Hermitage Apartments with 348 units in an eight-story building is under construction at 750 First Ave. S. Other proposed apartment projects include the Priatek Plaza II Apartments with about 300 units, Grand Bohemian Apartments with about the same, and Union Trust Apartments.

St. Pete is capitalizing on the downtown boom and anticipates a surge in property tax revenue. The city hopes to boost development even further when a deal is made with the Tampa Bay Rays. Tropicana Field sits on 85 acres of prime real estate ripe for development, including some residential.

The Onyx development would include about 244 units. The other end of the block is owned by Echelon LLC, but development of that part of the block remains under wraps.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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