Downtown condos ‘pre-sold’ before developer breaks ground

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An Art Deco-style condominium complex planned for downtown St. Petersburg already has “pre-sold” all but four homes, even though the developer has yet to break ground on the building.

The St. Pete City Council voted unanimously Thursday to allow the project to move forward. It will be located on 4th Avenue NE, between First Street North and Beach Drive NE.

Called Rowland Place, the $3.5 million complex will offer roomy, four-bedroom “homes” located in a six-story building. The top floor is a penthouse, and there’s a lobby on the first floor, with two-car garages at the back of the building.

Heightened interest in the development reflects a trend by professionals across the U.S. to leave the suburbs for well-maintained downtown areas that offer restaurants, shopping and convenience.

“We are seeing homebuyers who are drawn to St. Petersburg’s downtown by its layout – the protected waterfront and all the shops and activities that are within walking distance,” said Claudia Emery, sales and marketing director for JMC Design & Development of St. Petersburg.

Emery said that only four of the 17 units are still available, with prices ranging from $712,000 to $799,000. The property owner will live in the penthouse. She said most of the units are being bought as “primary residences,” not vacation homes.

The retro design of the building is intended to reflect downtown architecture with developer Michael Cheezem drawing inspiration from the City Hall building.

The complex will be built on a lot where a 1910 historic home, known as the Henry Bryan House, is now located. The boarded-up home is being re-located to MLK and 13th Avenue South and renovated by the developer.

According to city staff, the developer is pulling permits and is ready to break ground.

The property owner is G&T Holdings of Pinellas, which provides a Connecticut address. Representing the property owner was the applicant, Michael Greene of JMC Design & Development of St. Petersburg. Designing the building is Klar & Klar Architects of Clearwater.