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Old October 18th, 2006, 11:05 PM   #121
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Windward is cancelled, I believe. That's a great rendering of Ovation. The Arts, Grand Bohemian and Edge will really add things to DT beyond more condos and retail.
Are they cancelled? They still have their website up.
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Old October 19th, 2006, 05:59 PM   #122
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Cancelled is the wrong word. I should've said "suspended". This article describes it that way: http://www.sptimes.com/2006/09/10/Ne...ught_the.shtml

I guess it's still alive, but not getting built anytime soon. They've closed the sales office and returned deposits with plans to resume once the market picks up again.
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Old October 21st, 2006, 04:46 AM   #123
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I've noticed that the Bohemian has started to advertise heavily again. It took me awhile to realize that the Japanese lantern is the inspirational form for the design.
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 07:02 PM   #124
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'The Arts' makes a creative tweak

A return to the original plan of more studios and one-bedrooms broadens appeal.

By PAUL SWIDER
Published November 1, 2006

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/11/01/Ne...kes_a_cr.shtml
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The slow condo market has delayed some projects and killed others, but the Arts is moving forward.

The two-building complex will still have plenty of luxury units, but the lower half of the first 31-story building will be composed of one-bedroom units and studios for as little as $224,000. Similar design shifts in Miami and elsewhere have brought buyers back.

"This market requires more flexibility, a larger ear on the market," said Yaron David, managing director for the project being built jointly by international developer BSR and St. Petersburg developer Jimmy Aviram. "We listened hard. We looked at where the market was. And we saw a sweet spot under $500,000 where units are still getting snapped up."

The original design at Central Avenue and Eighth Street N had units with an average sales price of $800,000, David said. Now that average is $600,000. Units were in the range of 2,000 square feet, but now the studios are 700 square feet and the one-bedrooms can be as small as 800. David said this is actually a return to the original plan.

"When the project began, we had the concept of studios and one-bedrooms," he said of the development centered on an artistic lifestyle. "We got carried away from that, but now we've gone back."

The exterior of the project will not change; nor will its 50,000 square feet of retail space. Two 397-foot towers will rise on either side of Central and be the highest points from sea level in the city, David said. Upper floors will still contain larger units.

While not technically "affordable housing," the new sizes and prices in the Arts will expand its appeal, David said.

"This is almost a townhouse price in a luxury high-rise," David said. Still, "these people are not going to be struggling artists."

The project was always centered around the arts and has always incorporated artistic learning and an affiliation with the Arts Center, which will be housed in its complex. The developers recently announced that the project will also be home to a permanent collection of artwork by Dale Chihuly.

The artistic concept was its own draw, David said, which is why they had 100 cash reservations before final plans were even completed. Additional attractions were a 1-acre deck with tennis courts and pool, floor-to-ceiling windows, terraces in every unit and high-end decor. David said that all of that still applies with the newer internal structure.

"It will still have the allure," he said. "I don't think it will be watered down at all."

David said he has begun contacting those who have reservations and showing them the new designs. Rather than turning them off, he said, many have chosen units and added additional deposit money. He said he is still filing condominium documents on the new design, so no contracts have been closed.

David said sales are particularly strong among Europeans, especially Londoners, who have bought 50 units.

The white-hot condo market of the past couple of years has disappeared and affected other downtown developments. Windward at the Harborage on Third Street S closed its sales office in August and returned deposits to some of those who planned to buy its 52 condos. A 15-story, 108-unit development called Residences at 601 Central announced a delay in September as its financiers also felt the chill of the cooling market. La Vista, a more midpriced 196-unit project at Fifth Street and Third Avenue N, went on the market, with nothing built yet. The developer said he still plans to build.

David said the Arts will break ground in March 2007 and take about two years before residents start moving in. He said plans are final for the first building but that demand will drive the design and schedule for the second, on the south side of Central.

Paul Swider can be reached at 892-2271 or [email protected] or by participating in itsyourtimes.com.

[Last modified November 1, 2006, 00:56:37]
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 09:18 PM   #125
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^sounds good to me... So long as the prices remain attainable, there is no reason to think that the condo growth in urbanized areas and along the waterfront is going to stall anywhere in the region (or if it does, it certainly won't be for long. There are too many people in this region with money, who want to live someone where like that, and too many people moving here who feel the same). This is especially true of DT St Pete imo, as I view it as the most mature and strongest of the urban residential markets in the region.
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 11:17 PM   #126
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Wow, I love the flexibility and willingness to adapt. This will be a fantastic project to watch going up.
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Old November 10th, 2006, 12:15 AM   #127
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Cancelled is the wrong word. I should've said "suspended". This article describes it that way: http://www.sptimes.com/2006/09/10/Ne...ught_the.shtml

I guess it's still alive, but not getting built anytime soon. They've closed the sales office and returned deposits with plans to resume once the market picks up again.
Re: the Edge, the site is supposed to be for sale. Bohemian's price points/sf were very high. It would make a great luxury hotel if the condo component fails to emerge.

Ovation is supposed to have 12-15 sales but most are Sembler family and friends. Their unit designs are awesome but so are the prices.

On a design note, can anyone explain the purpose of the "warts" on Parkshore?
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Old November 10th, 2006, 12:26 AM   #128
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Last I heard, Edge was going ahead, albeit not to start for another several months.

And Bohemian has already been reconfigured to account for the greater hotel demand, and lesser condo demand. It's supposed to start first quarter next year.
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Old November 12th, 2006, 06:17 PM   #129
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On Clearwater Beach, condo dreams dry up
The beach had nine major projects on the way, worth $1.4-billion. But the market dipped, and empty sites dot the sand instead of high-rises.
By MIKE DONILA
Published November 12, 2006

CLEARWATER - Not long ago, popular south Clearwater Beach was teeming with tourists staying at the Beach Towers, Days Inn, Spyglass, Holiday Inn Sunspree and the Adam's Mark.

But those hotels and others were knocked down or closed in recent years to make way for nine high-end condominium and hotel projects, valued at $1.4-billion. And more closures are expected.

The thinking was the beach community could absorb the loss of an estimated 1,100 rooms because the new units would attract more tourists, residents and money.

Somewhere amid the "condo boom," however, prices skyrocketed, the market softened, insurance rates escalated - and buyers vanished.

Developers delayed or changed projects. Some refunded deposits, downsized rooms or lowered prices. Nearly all have pushed back construction.

What was supposed to be a time of great optimism, of unprecedented construction on the famed beach, has given way to quiet and an uncertain future. It could be many years before the rooms - and the millions of dollars in business - return to the beach.

Real estate, financial and government experts say the delays - some of which have left rubble-filled spots where hotels once stood - could make the beach less accessible, shrink city business revenues and cripple the tourist industry.

"We might never make up for what we've lost," said David Little, a real estate agent and redevelopment chairman for the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce.

* * *

The nine projects cover a nearly 1 mile stretch of S Gulfview Boulevard. Work on eight of them was to begin by the fall; the ninth was to start early next year.

But all but one have stalled or changed. Only the Marquesas, a condo project that will replace the Holiday Inn Sunspree, is on schedule, with construction set for early next year.

The delayed projects are the Clearwater Grande, Sienna Sands, Marbella Condominiums, Enchantment on Clearwater Beach, Kiran Grand Resort and Spa, Aqualea Resort and Residences, Entrada and Indigo Beach Residence & Suites.

Some of the projects also have changed in scope. After plans for the Clearwater Grande were shelved indefinitely, owners decided to keep the existing Quality Hotel open and renovate it.

Owners of the Enchantment condo project refunded about 50 deposits in April as they revised their plans.

Entrada developers also refunded deposits. The first phases of the project were to renovate the Gulfview Resorts' two towers and sell the rooms as condo-hotels. But when developers finished one tower, it opened as strictly a hotel.

Likewise, Kiran Grande developers are considering running the operation as a hotel only, instead of condo-hotels, said Kirit Shah, resort president and CEO.

* * *

About 18 months ago, condos were selling at record rates countywide.

Two projects from developer Mike Cheezem - the Mandalay Beach Club and Belle Harbor - showed others the way. Built in 2002 and 2003, they were the first new high-rises on the beach in 25 years, and buyers quickly scooped up the units, in some cases turning a profit in one day.

That led to the rush of proposed private investment on Clearwater Beach, which by late 2004 was unmatched on other county beaches.

A series of events, however, brought the market to a standstill.

- Prices climbed. In 2004, beach condos averaged about $359,400. This month, they averaged $632,700.

"You have to make a heck of a lot of money to live on Clearwater Beach," said Mike Mayo, spokesman for the Pinellas Realtor Organization, which collects and analyzes local housing market data.

- Several years' worth of hurricanes sent insurance rates skyrocketing. That forced some to change condo-hotel projects to less-profitable hotels only.

"The lack of available hurricane insurance for people who signed up to buy the condos stopped us dead in our tracks," said Jeff Keierleber, president of Decade Properties, the developer behind Entrada.

Rick Alles, former Gulfview general manager, said rates increased about 400 percent. And the resort owner, which paid about $600,000 a year in insurance for a hotel, could pay as much as $2-million if the building had condo-hotels. Those costs would have been passed on to the owners of the units, Alles said.

- Increased construction and labor costs have contributed to the slowdown, said Bill Horne, Clearwater city manager, and Ray Ferrara, president of ProVise Management Group, a Clearwater-based financial planning firm.

- And the market soon became oversaturated. In April 2005, there were 1,430 condos on the market countywide, and about 62 percent were selling, according to the Pinellas Realtor Organization. In April, there were 6,100 on the market, with 5 percent selling.

Mayo and local financial experts say the market hit an impasse: Investors are now on the sidelines waiting for a fire sale, and sellers are waiting for unrealistic gains.

"People are saying 'enough is enough' and they're walking away," said Ferrara. "The prices simply got ahead of themselves."

Those factors also priced out another pool of potential buyers: retirees and second-home buyers. They generally want smaller, more affordable units, which are not offered on the beach, said Bill West, real estate manager for Opus South Corp., which is overseeing a 25-story downtown Clearwater condo project.

* * *

The changes and delays have left the beach woefully short of rooms with no clear sense of when they will be built back. Even if developers break ground early next year, many say they'll still miss at least four tourist seasons.

In the early 2000s, the beach had more than 4,600 rooms available for overnight accommodations, according to a St. Petersburg Times analysis using data supplied by the city's Economic Development and Housing Department and Smith Travel Research. But that stock began dwindling slowly, then at an accelerated pace. Within just the past couple of years, the beach has lost 1,100, bringing the total to fewer than 2,600 rooms as of July.

"That's a lot of rooms to lose in an area that touts the fact that tourism is our No. 1 industry," said Sheila Cole, director of the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce. "We're keeping our fingers crossed that we can build them back up, but we're going to be down the next couple of years as far as tourism goes."

Some worry about potential long-term effects.

"Thousands of people are looking online for hotel rooms, and if they appear filled up, they're going somewhere else," said Mike Sanders, a local historian, real-estate agent and author of Clearwater: a Pictorial History.

Others are concerned the new upscale resorts and hotels will turn off the beach's traditional blue-collar tourist base.

"We're not Naples. We're not Sarasota. A lot of people from the Midwest come here and they're not going to pay $150 to $300 for hotel rooms," said Little, an agent with ReMax, who - along with others who follow the beach activity - says the financial impact is in the "millions."

Rob Remeikis, who works at Big Kahuna's Wave Runners and Parasail, said the delays already are proving costly.

"This is going to kill the businesses out here," Remeikis said. "They're building these condos and no one is buying them. It's going to be a ghost town."

* * *

Still, developers say they remain optimistic.

Cheezem, whose latest project is the Marquesas, expects a healthy correction in the marketplace. "We're on the verge of this huge baby boomer group. ... They're in their prime second-home-buying years and vacation and retirement years coming up."

But developers say changes are in order. Keierleber said the Legislature needs to fix an insurance crisis that's making it too expensive to protect homes along the beach. Others say something must be done about the state's complex tax structure, which makes it costly to own second homes, which don't receive tax exemptions.

"They needed to do something about taxes and insurance yesterday - we are taxing people out of their homes and business," Mayo said.

Developers likely will have to redesign their projects.

Cheezem said the Marquesas is designed for retiring baby boomers and second-home owners, and units there are not as likely to be bought and resold.

"You have to listen to your customer, and they said they wanted smaller condos," said Uday Lele, owner of the Enchantment.

Mayor Frank Hibbard said he is optimistic about the beach's long-term health, but admits "there are growing pains going on right now."

"The next few years are going to be difficult. It's had a really negative impact on the beach and the businesses there," he said.

Carole Ketterhagen, executive director of the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the beach is in transition.

"And we'll come back stronger, bigger, better than ever."
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Last edited by Jasonhouse; November 13th, 2006 at 01:55 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old November 12th, 2006, 09:35 PM   #130
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Damn! That's pathetic. Very disappointing.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 01:39 AM   #131
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Damn! That's pathetic. Very disappointing.
It is. They think that when a project is approved it will get started right after that, but that isn't the case. I bet that some towers in Tampa had to wait 4-5 months to finally break ground. Same with Clearwater.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 03:09 AM   #132
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It's like Daytona Beach. Was there recently and there is idle construction site after idle construction as you drive down the beach.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 01:57 PM   #133
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Well, that's what Clearwater gets for mandating looney building hieght and density retrictions on their most valuable tracts of land... Exactly what did they think was going ot happen? Developers would pay millions for land, and turn around and build cheap housing on it? lololol
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Old November 13th, 2006, 09:48 PM   #134
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Do you think if they had no height limit they would build affordable housing?
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Old November 13th, 2006, 10:29 PM   #135
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^It's the unit per acre density that is the biggest impediment to more "attainable" housing... When the market is artifically impinged upon, it is a given that prices will be artificially inflated accordingly... The trick I guess is to balance the two...

Clearwater's leadership seems to want one thing, but creates rules which encourage another, and then wonders why what they really want isn't what they wound up with.
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Old November 14th, 2006, 05:16 AM   #136
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Meh, it pisses me off to see the old motel culture die out... to make way for empty sites. I know they'll be filled in, but it is upsetting to see such valuable space sit vacant....
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Old November 14th, 2006, 05:21 AM   #137
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Meh, it pisses me off to see the old motel culture die out... to make way for empty sites. I know they'll be filled in, but it is upsetting to see such valuable space sit vacant....
Me too i hope some of the old motels will stay. Also Jasonhouse i meant how typically beach communities work nowadays to bring the rich in and kick the rest out. I think downtowns will have affordable housing sooner than beaches.
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Old November 14th, 2006, 05:30 AM   #138
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Well, I think that everyone would agree that the term "affordable" is relative to the neighborhood. For Dt Clearwater (especially the eastern side), something better be like $200k or less ot be affordable... But for the beaches, basically anything under $400k is a total steal.

The point being, truly "affordable" housing just isn't reasonable to expect of developers somewhere like on the keys... But nonetheless, local govt should be acutely aware that when they impinge supply with zoning mandates, then cost is inevitably driven upwards... They can't have it both ways... You can't expect developers to build cheap, but create zoning regulations which gaurantee that the property they build on will be very expensive.
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Old November 14th, 2006, 03:42 PM   #139
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True especially beachfront i really was talking more about the term affordable in pinellas county which is 200k or under.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 07:14 PM   #140
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The above article is just negative. It appears to me that most of the developers are still going to build. To me this article reflects more on the viability of the "condotel" market then anything else. Instead of "condotels" we will have real hotels on the beach. All the better!!!
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