June 4, 2020

Hot Downtowns


Movie theaters, restaurants, entertainment and retail are following residents downtown, making city living more attractive.

Florida Staff | 8/1/2005
Just two years ago, it was as impossible to catch a movie in downtown Orlando as it was for a downtown worker in St. Petersburg to go grocery shopping on her lunch break. Today, those cities and others across Florida have passed perhaps the most important milestone on the road to rebuilding vital and vibrant city cores: Their downtowns have the infrastructure of everyday life -- drugstores, movies, grocery stores -- as well as the eateries, nightclubs and live/work lofts that marked the early stirrings of downtown revitalization a decade ago.

Of course, greater numbers of Floridians are still settling in suburbs and exurbs. But downtown living is increasingly attractive to both young professionals and empty nesters sick of sprawl. Other factors: Low interest rates and the accompanying boom in housing investment. And finally, taxpayer dollars: Billions of federal, state and primarily local-development subsidies spent during the past two decades are finally paying off. "They are all fueling each other," says Carol Westmoreland, executive director of the Florida Redevelopment Association. "Downtown redevelopment has come full circle."
MiamiTallahasseeWest Palm BeachHollywoodSt. PetersburgDelray BeachOrlandoNaplesSarasotaJacksonvilleFort LauderdalePunta Gorda
TampaBradentonFort MyersFort PiercePensacolaPanama CityGainesville


Residential Units
2,859 condo and rental units built since 2002.
Under construction: 13,518 condo and rental units.
Planned: 4,264 rental and condo units.

Nothing in Florida compares with downtown Miami. Not even close. Take all developers and their preliminary plans and proposals at face value, and 69,000 condo units will sprout from Brickell Avenue to the Julia Tuttle Causeway. The tally of planned retail and restaurant space at a few large retail projects and all the condo tower ground floors is 1 million square feet.

True, real estate everywhere is booming, but Miami has a special surge thanks to its popularity among foreigners -- fueled in part by condo sales marketing overseas -- its dwindling land supply and loads of investors and speculators. Developers say Miami is joining San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles as a world-class city. "We are in the infancy stage of our evolution, and what's great about Miami's potential is our brand far exceeds what we've evolved to at this point in time," says Dana Nottingham, executive director of Miami's Downtown Development Authority. "We have so much upside potential."

> Noteworthy Projects
Metropolitan Miami, Dupont Plaza and One Miami -- clustered where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay. The trio alone total 4,000 units. One of Met Miami's three towers will be 74 stories, and the complex will house a Whole Foods.

Biscayne waterfront -- home to a slew of new buildings transforming a low-rise waterfront into tower road. Two developments: The 36-floor Blue and 50-story Onyx2.

Mary Brickell Village -- an upscale 200,000-sq.-ft. retail development in Brickell opening this year to cater to everyday users. Developer: Constructa, which also built CocoWalk in Coconut Grove.

Miami Performing Arts Center -- a 2,200-seat symphony hall and a 2,400-seat opera house will be home to The New World Symphony, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and the Concert Association of Florida. The center is scheduled for completion next year and is the anchor in the performing arts district.

Museum Park -- a proposed $400-million, 30-acre park setting on Biscayne Boulevard for the Miami Art Museum, a maritime museum and the Miami Museum of Science. It's only on the drawing board at present.

> Downtown Leaders
The unrivaled condo developer in volume, Jorge Perez's The Related Group of Florida had $2.1 billion in sales last year and has $10 billion in projects under way. He's a supporter of the arts and willing to try emerging and untested neighborhoods. Related commissions so much original art for its buildings that it has an in-house curator.

City Commissioner Johnny Winton gets a nod for his work on downtown planning, and Mayor Manny Diaz for the reassurance he's brought developers that the city will be run competently.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
Two Publix stores, a gourmet Publix at Mary Brickell Village to come and a Whole Foods on the first floor of Met Miami. For its size, Miami's downtown lacks in retail, restaurants and clubs. If everything that's proposed gets built, it won't for long.

> Wild Card
Is the boom a bubble due to burst when those speculators and investors fail to find enough tenants and users to fill all the units?


Residential Units
6,384 (includes those planned and approved)

The revival of downtown owes to many parents: Henry Rolfs, the late developer who assembled massive amounts of dilapidated real estate in the 1980s for a large-scale development only to discover he was ahead of his time and overextended; the revitalization of Clematis Street, proving retail could work downtown; former Mayor Nancy Graham, who led a reorganization of Rolfs' one-time holdings and the coming of the CityPlace retail and residential megaproject; a downtown master plan in the mid-1990s that made downtown development predictable for developers and gave them incentives to build residential towers; and CityPlace itself, which opened in 2000.

With the downtown waterfront filled by the 1990s with office towers and some residential buildings, the condo craze has taken place in the city core. "This is a city that was waiting to become something new," says Barbara Salk, of condo developer The Related Group of Florida, "and it's finally emerging as a major business center. We're very high on it."

> Noteworthy Projects
CityPlace South Tower -- the 20-story, 420-unit project will include touch-screen monitors that will allow residents to order the car to be brought around and make dinner and spa appointments. Prices range from $300,000 to more than $1 million. Scheduled to begin construction in January. Developer: Miami-based The Related Group of Florida.

The Prado -- 304 units, eight stories. Prices range from $170,000 to $400,000s. Developer: The Related Group of Florida.

Skyline Lofts -- 103 units, studios and one bedroom, $227,000 to $440,000, set to begin construction in December. Developer: West Palm Beach-based Leap Group Holdings. CEO Rodolfo Gonzalez plans to put a bike in each unit to encourage cycling.

CityCenter -- a new City Hall, public library and photography education center slated for construction in 2006.

Opera Place -- 26-story, 536-unit condo tower, with units ranging from the $300,000s to $4 million. Scheduled to break ground early next year. Developer: BAP Development, Miami. A theater company, Florida Stage, will occupy a performing arts center in the building.

> Downtown Leaders
Barbara Salk, the vice president overseeing The Related Group of Florida's West Palm Beach projects. Related has sold 1,350 units totaling $460 million there in the past two years.

Peter Armato, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, a newcomer experienced in downtown work, has his work cut out for him in revitalizing Clematis Street and recruiting hotels into downtown.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
Publix opened a store at CityPlace in 2002. A pharmacy is coming. Clematis Street, after national-name retailers consolidated at CityPlace, is having to go through yet another rebirth. The Downtown Development Authority is studying the retail mix to develop a plan to plug gaps.

> Amenities
With Ballet Florida, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, smaller venues, an arts magnet school, SunFest and CityPlace, executive dining and bistros, West Palm Beach has nearly the complete package.

> Wild Card
The effort to get a convention center hotel has dragged on for years.


Residential Units
5,871 (includes pending projects)

In the 1920s, St. Petersburg enjoyed a reputation as one of the nation's top tourist destinations, its beaches drawing crowds from around the country. By the later part of the century, however, the Pinellas peninsula was lost in the shuffle. While Tampa went after office buildings, "we sat here mothballed, waiting for this rediscovery and urban renewal," says Bob Jeffrey, the city's manager of urban design and historic preservation.

In the late 1990s, however, Mel Sembler's BayWalk project began to take root on a city-assembled parcel where an earlier effort with an out-of-town developer had failed. With BayWalk providing a focus for tourists and locals, more than two dozen new restaurants, a nearby grocery store complex and thousands of downtown residences have followed. Development has rippled inland from the bayfront, and today, developers flock for building permits to build high-rise condos in the heart of the city.

The potential, Jeffrey says, was there all along. Without the upscale demographics of Sarasota or Naples, St. Petersburg's 100-foot-wide streets, city-owned waterfront and tree-lined neighborhoods have provided quality-of-life features that other cities have to work hard to imitate.

> Noteworthy Projects
Tropicana Block -- a two-tower complex expected to house 200 to 250 condo units that will likely sell for between $325,000 and $500,000. The complex will also include retail space and a Westin hotel. Developer: Jimmy Aviram and Tibor Hollo.

1010 Central -- this $25-million project breaks ground this month. The five-story building, which is sold out, will have 114 units. Prices ranged from the $150,000s to $420,000. Developer: Miles Development Partners. Another Miles project, The Sage, is just getting under way in response to the interest in 1010 Central.

The Grand Bohemian Hotel and Residences -- ground breaking for this 28-story tower is set for January. The building will feature 62 residential units and more than 200 hotel rooms. Condo prices will start in the low $400,000s and top out at $2.2 million. Developer: The Kessler Enterprise.

Signature Place -- a slick design, featuring an ultra-thin glass and concrete structure that resembles a gossamer sail. At $125 million, it's also the most expensive. The 34-story tower will replace the former VA building at 101 First St. S. It will feature 221 condo units, ranging from $350,000 to more than $4 million. The development will also include office "condo" space. Developer: Joel Cantor, Gulf Atlantic Real Estate Corp. of Tampa.

400 Beach Drive -- this $100-million Mediterranean-inspired pedestrian village with a 28-story tower will feature 93 condos starting in the $700,000s. Developer: Opus South Corp. The company is also building Parkshore Plaza next door. That project's condo units range from the $600,000s to more than $3 million.

> Downtown Leaders
Part-owner of the Bank of America building and McNulty Station, Jimmy Aviram is working on several projects, including the development of the Tropicana site. He's teamed up with the Sembler Co. to build 100 luxury condo units at 100 Beach Drive and is leading the development of the new $75-million Arts Center complex.

Local architect Tim Clemmons recognized downtown's potential early on. The developer of Straub Court and the Fifth Avenue Lofts is working alongside Chicago-based Perkins+Will on Signature Place as well as the Arts Center project.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
A new Publix is the anchor of University Village, a 60,000-sq.-ft. shopping center in the central business district. BayWalk, a 300,000-sq.-ft. retail and entertainment complex, features a mix of local retailers and chain stores. Boutiques along Beach Drive cater to the upscale.

> Amenities
The city boasts six museums -- including the Salvador Dali Museum, which is building a new facility near the waterfront on the site of the city-owned Bayfront Center -- along with restaurants and waterfront parks that host a stream of outdoor festivals and concerts. While the Tampa Bay Devil Rays haven't burned up the American League, Tropicana Field is the only downtown ballpark in the state.

> Wild Card
Rick Smith, a historic preservation planner for the city, says he is finally seeing some proposals for moderately priced housing in the "dome area," west of Tropicana Field. City planners are in the process of rewriting zoning codes. New projects will have to create a pedestrian street edge, with towers rising from the center of the block.


Residential Units

The cranes that frame Orlando's skyline illustrate a storybook redevelopment tale: Downtown efforts faltered for years, with the area's 50,000 daily workers scooting back to the suburbs as soon as the sun went down. But today, more than 15,000 people make downtown home. And more than 3,000 residential units are under construction; many of them in mixed-use projects that also will bring movies, groceries and other fixtures of real life.

Still, a crucial chapter in Orlando's downtown story is incomplete. As martini bars and art centers pop up in the business district, the nearby Parramore neighborhood remains plagued by crime and poverty. Despite the promises of every mayor in recent history, downtown revitalization has, for the most part, bypassed Parramore. Mayor Buddy Dyer is the latest to make it a priority. He predicts Parramore will benefit from several crossover projects, such as FAMU's law school, UCF's film school and an $83-million federal courthouse project. Meanwhile, he's announced a five-point plan -- housing, public safety, business development, children and quality of life -- called Pathways for Parramore to guide city and private revitalization efforts. As part of that plan, a consortium of developers and the Black Business Investment Fund recently unveiled a six-acre, mixed-use project called Parramore Village. "That is going to be a catalytic project," Dyer says.

> Noteworthy Projects
PremiereTrade Plaza -- a $90-million, mixed-use redevelopment of three acres in the heart of downtown. Includes a long-sought movie theater, as well as two high-rise office towers and a 27-story residential tower. Developers: Downtown Land Holdings LLC; city of Orlando and its Community Redevelopment Agency; Regions Bank; Unicorp Development; and Brasfield & Gorrie.

Florida A&M College of Law -- a $22-million project on four acres in the Parramore area. FAMU has been teaching Florida's newest barristers out of temporary buildings downtown. The new college includes a four-story law library, three-story classroom building and a law clinic for the public.

Sanctuary Condominiums -- the $60-million project includes 166 residential units starting at $200,000 and a dozen penthouses that will go for upward of $1 million. Developer: Historic Creations.

Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy and UCF's School of Film and Digital Media -- both are moving from campus to downtown's Expo Center, which is being transformed with $6 million in construction improvements and $8 million in computers and other high-tech equipment. The center will be home to 1,600 students by 2009.

Federal courthouse expansion -- the $83-million expansion will include six stories of office and courtroom space and several federal agencies. The old one will be renovated to house U.S. Bankruptcy Court and other offices.

> Downtown Leaders
When other Orlando developers were busy in the 'burbs, Cameron Kuhn was buying up and rehabbing old buildings downtown. With PremiereTrade Plaza, he's overseeing downtown's largest redevelopment project so far.

Chicago developer Mike Murray, of Churchill Development Group, had been admiring downtown Orlando from afar. Two years ago, he moved his company here -- and now he's building the 35-story Vue condos at Lake Eola. The $85-million project received no public subsidies, and units are selling like ice cream in July. Vue, which won't be completed until 2007, has sold 85% of its 384 residential units.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
There are signs that retail will soon follow downtown's significant residential development. ZOM Inc.'s Paramount on Lake Eola project, with some 300 residential condos, will include a 29,000-sq.-ft. Publix on the ground level as well as 5,100 square feet of additional retail space.

> Amenities
Downtown Orlando has some 115 restaurants and bars, among the most noteworthy: Kres Chophouse, award-winning Hue and the trendy Martini Bar Rhythm & Flow.

> Wild Card
The School of Film & Digital Media will soon mean thousands of college kids downtown. But will that make the area more livable -- or less? Meanwhile, city leaders are eager to rehab the decaying Citrus Bowl, where UCF's Knights play football. But UCF has its sights on a new stadium closer to campus. Many fear that a new stadium for the Knights could doom the Citrus Bowl and the poor neighborhood that surrounds it.


Residential Units
About 2,800 additional units are planned or under construction.

In the early 1990s, "redevelopment" efforts downtown consisted of little more than a tiny grant program that enabled shopkeepers to spruce up their facades. A downtown mall tanked and sat, white-elephant like, at the corner of Main Street and U.S. 301. As late as 2000, commercial real estate broker John Harshman says, there was only "minimal interest" in living downtown. But as the real estate tide came in, Sarasota has exploded, becoming one of the most attractive and livable downtowns in the state -- if you can afford it. Construction cranes hover over much of the skyline, and developers can't keep up with demand. "Nothing stays on the market. It sells immediately," says Tony Souza, executive director of the Downtown Partnership of Sarasota. Harshman estimates that 70% of the buyers are second-, third- and fourth-time home buyers.

Local government has also played a key role in the revitalization of the waterfront city. The city has slated $14.68 million for redevelopment projects scheduled for the next five years.

> Noteworthy Projects
Plaza Five Points -- the 50 units originally ranged from mid-$500,000s to $1.6 million. They're now going for $780,000 to $3.35 million. The 16-story neoclassical skyscraper has even lured some longtime residents of Longboat Key and Siesta Key. Developer:
Ersa Grae Corp.

One Hundred Central / Whole Foods Market Centre -- 95 units. Originally offered at between $278,000 and $1.6 million, resales now range from $410,000 to $2.2 million. The mixed-use urban development project, anchored by Whole Foods, will feature 60,000 square feet of retail space and a multistory public parking facility. Developer: Casto-Zenith Venture.

Sarasota Quay -- 540 units, $495,000 to $1.2 million. The highly anticipated $1-billion redevelopment of the 11-acre parcel will feature 10 townhouses, 59,500 square feet of office space and 8,000 square feet of restaurants. Developer: Patrick Kelly.

Pineapple Square -- 210 units. Expected to open in 2007, the development will boast 30 to 40 retail outlets, 600 public parking spaces and 400 covered parking spaces for residents. Developer: The Isaac Group.

1350 Main -- 134 units, $280,000 to $700,000 for 725 to 3,000 square feet. Penthouses ranged from the high $600,000s to
$1 million-plus -- 129 units sold out within an hour and a half of when they went on the market in May 2004. Developer: LB Jax

> Downtown Leaders
Mark Kauffman has put his money where his mouth is. The retired physician-turned-developer built the nine-story Courthouse Centre at U.S. 301 and Main Street, the Main Plaza/Hollywood 20 complex and Links Plaza downtown. He's got more in store for the Sarasota skyline.

Irish developer Patrick "Paddy" Kelly purchased the aging Sarasota Quay for $60 million in 2004 and picked up the adjacent historic Belle Haven Inn in April for another $3.75 million. Talk of a European-inspired roundabout at the project has raised eyebrows.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
Whole Foods, which opened in 2004 in the center of downtown, has given downtown living a real boost. Also, a new Publix at U.S. 41 and 10th Street should be completed in mid-2006. While new mixed-used developments are promising big-name chains, a host of one-of-a-kind downtown boutiques, galleries and shops give the downtown its real charm.

> Amenities
With 30 art galleries, the Ringling Museum of Art, 10 theaters and a professional symphony, ballet and opera, Sarasota has long been considered by some Florida's cultural capital. The area also boasts a concentration of some of the state's best restaurants and beaches.

> Wild Card
Sarasota is drawing scores of preretirement Baby Boomers who can afford to plunk down $400,000-plus for city living, but there's not much "workforce housing" to speak of, says Tony Souza, executive director of the Downtown Partnership of Sarasota. An estimated 70% of city workers -- including teachers, police officers or middle-income professional workers earning $50,000 to $60,000 annually -- live outside the city.


Residential Units
6,029 (including 2,700 approved for construction by the city)

> Noteworthy Projects
The Hyde Park Market site -- a 272-unit, 42-story Related Group project on the site of an old grocery store. Ground breaking is next year. It is controversial for its scale next to the historic Stranahan House.

Las Olas Grand -- 213 units, with prices ranging from the $500,000s to $2.3 million, in a 38-story tower. Developer: Charles Palmer. Closings were scheduled to begin in July.

The Symphony -- a 338-unit luxury condo on the north bank of the New River adjacent to the Broward Performing Arts Center. Prices range from the $200,000s to more than $1 million. Closings are scheduled to begin this month. Developer: Altman Cos.

200 Brickell -- a 14-story Stiles Corp. office building. Stiles is selling some of the offices.

> Downtown Leaders
Alan Hooper, pioneer of Fort Lauderdale lofts and the Flagler Village area on the north side of downtown. He has three projects totaling 172 units, priced from the mid-$300,000s to low $700,000s.

Terry Stiles has influenced Fort Lauderdale's skyline more than any other developer. He has headed the family business for 34 years and built it into a real estate company active throughout the Southeast part of the nation but still a major player in downtown.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
A multistory Publix on Andrews Avenue and a Winn-Dixie on the northern downtown fringe.

> Amenities
The New River, a library, art museum, science museum, performing arts center, an expanding river walk pedestrian way, park, restaurants and Las Olas Boulevard.

> Wild Card
Will all the new residents be walking everywhere or adding to congestion? The city plans a rail project to be open by early 2008.


Residential Units
6,000 (proposed or under way)

> Noteworthy Projects
Sky Point Condominiums -- adjacent to Tampa's Museum of Art, Sky Point's 400 units will run between $170,000 and $330,000. The 32-story condo tower would be built on Ashley Drive between Zack and Polk streets. Developers: Atlanta-based Novare Group and Intown Property Group in Tampa.

Trump Tower Tampa -- the $220-million development along the Hillsborough River in the heart of Tampa's financial district will feature 190 units ranging from $700,000 to more than $5.5 million. The 52-story project will be the tallest residential building on the Gulf of Mexico. Developer: Sim Dag-ROBEL

Grand Central at Kennedy -- Ken Stoltenberg's project will create a 14-story building with 392 condos ranging from $155,000 to $305,000. The complex will also feature office and retail space. Developer: Mercury Advisors.

O2 -- twin 41-story towers in the Channelside district will feature everything from a "serenity garden" to the wine cellar. Prices of the 404 condo units will range from the high $300,000s to $3 million. Developers: Corvus International, Morin Development Group and Pinnacle Partners.

Towers of Channelside -- another Channelside project, this $85-million development will add two 30-story high-rises with 257 condos to Tampa's skyline. Prices will range from $275,000 to $755,000, with a $1.5-million penthouse. Developer: Channelside LLC: A partnership of Rich Sacchi, Mike McGuinness and Brad Hite.

> Downtown Leaders
Ken Stoltenberg hasn't forgotten what makes the Channelside district unique -- the artists who first set up home in the port-front warehouses. The developer of the Grand Central at Kennedy has donated rent-free spaces to the Stage Works theater company and is incorporating a 2,000-sq.-ft. art gallery and 4,500-sq.-ft. theater into his forthcoming development.

The most recent coup by Mark Huey, the city's economic development administrator, was bringing the 2009 Super Bowl to Tampa.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
Publix recently opened a 26,000-sq.-ft. "specialty grocery store" downtown. Additional stores will be needed as residents move in.

> Amenities
Channelside and Centro Ybor are chock full of dining and entertainment choices. The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center is also downtown. It remains to be seen whether the city can pull off the construction of?a new Tampa Museum of Art and RiverWalk, which is supposed to be the cornerstone of the new cultural arts district.

> Wild Card
St. Louis has the Arch. Seattle the Space Needle. Can Tampa find a downtown icon too? Leaders are working on trying to come up with "a large iconic symbol" to represent the city.


Residential Units
4,150 (includes projects in various stages of development)

> Noteworthy Projects
The Oasis -- the $450-million project along the Caloosahatshee River will feature five 32-story towers totaling 1,079 residences ranging from $200,000 into the $800,000s. Construction is set to begin in September. Developer: The Related Group of Florida.

The Cypress Club -- the complex will feature two high-rises with glass-railed balconies on 3.2 acres along the river waterfront. The 32-story buildings, which should be finished by 2007, will have 292 units priced from $300,000 to more than $2 million. Developer: BAP Development/Newleaf.

The Vue -- due to be completed in 2007, the 27-story tower on West First Street will have 178 units starting in the $500,000s. The building has a library and high-tech business center in the lobby area. Developer: Throgmartin Co.

High Point Place -- the riverfront project will include 255 luxury condominiums and 16 low-rise city homes on four waterfront acres between McGregor Boulevard and the Caloosahatshee River. Units in the 33-story twin towers and three smaller towers range from $497,900 to $984,990. Developer: Cameratta Properties.

Legacy Harbour -- this 352-unit high-rise condo and hotel project will occupy a 3.2-acre tract where the Winyah Hotel & Suites now sits. The developers have proposed 288 condo units, 32 loft condos and 64 hotel rooms in two 25-story towers. Developer: The Sullivan-Florida Group.

> Downtown Leaders
Lee County Commissioner Tammy Hall helped to lay the groundwork for the downtown's revitalization efforts. The former city councilwoman worked on the original master plan for the city.

Father-son team Don and Ron Throgmartin are investing in upgrading the downtown waterfront area. They will donate a boat storage and classroom space to The Edison Sailing Center -- a package deal worth more than $1.3 million -- and will also spend $377,000 upgrading the city-owned Centennial Park.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
Cameratta Properties is promising a "major" grocery chain -- the first downtown -- in its new mixed-use project called First Street Village. The project, to be located on 12 acres at the former Edison-Ford Square shopping center, will also include 100,000 square feet of retail space.

> Amenities
Tourists still flock to tour the former summer homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford on palm-lined McGregor Boulevard. The area is also known for its beaches and parks. Still a sleepy town, the bulk of the action is concentrated one block from the waterfront along
1st Avenue.

> Wild Card
The Key West Express provides ferry service between Fort Myers Beach and Key West aboard two catamarans. The trip takes about 3.5 hours and costs $73 one way.


Residential Units
2,400 (includes those planned and approved)

> Noteworthy Projects
The Floridian -- the 60-unit, eight-story building will include retail. Construction is slated to begin in January. Prices range from $260,000 to $900,000. Developers: Brian Spencer, Randy Maxwell, Keith Bullock, Adrian Lovell and Ed Carson.

The Lofts at Alcaniz Centre -- 27 units ranging from $230,000 to $506,000. Developer: Alcaniz Centre Residential Development (Adrian Lovell and Ed Carson).

The Tarragona -- 70 units planned in a 10-story building, with prices in the $300- to $400-per-square-foot range. Developer: Bruce Morrison.

Court of North Hill -- 22 townhomes from $335,000 to $650,000. Developer: Snowmass Mountain Properties (Mike Bass and Keith Rawson).

Community Maritime Park -- a $70-million public-private redevelopment plan for 27.5 acres of vacant waterfront property is proposed by minor league Pensacola Pelicans owner Quint Studer, retired Vice Admiral Jack Fetterman and University of West Florida President John Cavanaugh. The current concept includes a sports and concert stadium, maritime museum, conference center, park and public marina.

> Downtown Leaders
Brian Spencer, 47, an architect with Spencer Maxwell Bullock Architects, is an active proponent of downtown living. He lives in a loft condominium in an 1860 building he converted eight years ago into a mixed-use property that includes Jackson's restaurant.

David Bailey, 35, Pensacola Community Redevelopment Agency director. An architect, Bailey has been leading the city's redevelopment efforts for three years.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
Downtown has a new neighborhood food store, but no major grocery store. Retail includes a sprinkling of stores selling jewelry, music, shoes, greeting cards, hardware and men's and women's clothing.

> Amenities
Downtown doesn't have nightspots. Cultural venues include the historic Saenger Theatre performing arts center. The oldest community theater in the state, the Pensacola Little Theatre, performs in the Pensacola Cultural Center. The Pensacola Museum of Art attracts exhibitions more typically found in larger cities.

> Wild Card
Since Hurricane Ivan, the city's architectural review board has been more willing to give variances for height, number of units and other requirements. The hurricane's aftermath also has made talk of moving Emerald Coast Utilities' wastewater treatment plant away from downtown more serious. The question is who will pay the $165-million cost.


Residential Units
1,500 (includes units under construction)

> Noteworthy Projects
University Corners -- the largest redevelopment project under way downtown, three blocks of retail, residential, hotel, conference space, structured parking and a new Methodist church sanctuary. The project's "condotels" range from $160,000 to $385,000. Condos range from $230,000 to $1.2 million. It is one of the highest structures in the city at eight stories. Developer: Mike Conroy.

West University Avenue Lofts -- along downtown's main drag, with 31 residential units and four retail spaces. The lofts range from $146,000 to $316,000. Developer: Mike Langton, co-owner of LB Jax Development.

Regents Park -- high-end townhouses bordering downtown's historic Duck Pond neighborhood, the first of their kind in Gainesville. Prices range from $170,000 to $350,000. The first phase, 27 units, sold out immediately, and a second phase begins soon. Developer: Mike Warren.

University Heights Redevelopment -- a collection of a dozen projects under way and moving through the planning board to target the decaying University Heights neighborhood. Developer: John Fleming of Trimark Properties is developing several of the projects.

> Downtown Leaders
Ken and Linda McGurn are considered the proud parents of Gainesville's downtown renaissance, which took off after their successful Sun Center and Union Street Station projects. Now, the McGurns hope to spread their new urbanist gospel to other parts of the state.They are developing Main Street Landing in New Port Richey in Pasco County. The mixed-use, Tuscan-themed project with 55 residential units and ground-floor restaurants and retail will wind along the Pithlachascotee River on a site that was once the most decrepit in New Port Richey. In Port Orange, the McGurns will be master developers for 38 acres along the Halifax River. The 12-year, $350-million project will include six condo towers; smaller, street-level mixed-use; a new downtown center; and a boardwalk. Meanwhile, the couple is negotiating with Ocala on a major redevelopment downtown.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
An aging Publix eight blocks from downtown just got a facelift. Meanwhile, the proposed University Corners project has plans for a specialty grocery such as Whole Foods or Fresh Market -- but it's too soon to say if it will land one.

> Amenities
The Hippodrome State Theatre cements downtown culture. Live music, a weekly farmers market and a broad range of restaurants make for lots of options. Retail remains the weakest link.

> Wild Card
College towns like Athens, Ga., and Ann Arbor, Mich., have thriving downtowns within walking distance of major universities. But Gainesville's downtown is 13 blocks from UF. Whether recent efforts to create a downtown-to-gown corridor can make up the distance remains to be seen.


Residential Units
1,340 -- 10 new projects will add 700

> Noteworthy Projects
The Tennyson -- the $24-million project will bring 90 residential units and street-level retail just a third of a mile from the Capitol complex. All the units have been sold, at prices ranging from $250,000 to $920,000. Developer: Granger Development of Pensacola.

Tallahassee Center -- the 11-story, $90-million project is under construction at the northwest corner of Kleman Plaza. The project will include 104 fully furnished condos and retail space. Developer: Gameday Group of Birmingham, Ala.

Kleman Plaza Tower -- on the southwest corner of Kleman, the 23-story, mixed-used project will include 202 residential units, 37,500 square feet of retail space and 350 underground parking spaces. Residential units start at $152,000 and go to $700,000. Developer: BCOM of Miami.

417 Park Avenue -- 9,000 square feet of office/retail and 23 condos priced between $285,000 and $1.1 million. Developer: K2 Urbancorp of Tallahassee.

> Downtown Leaders
Mayor John Marks has been a strong voice for community redevelopment in Frenchtown and Tallahassee's South Side, both underprivileged areas, at the same time helping pave the way for the new urbanist projects in the business district near the Capitol.

Sonny Granger of Granger Development may call Pensacola his permanent home, but he's been spending almost all of his time in Tallahassee since he began construction on The Tennyson last year. Granger was the first developer willing to take a chance on a major residential project downtown.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
This remains a weak point. Even the 700 housing units forthcoming won't be enough to lure a long-hoped for grocery store downtown, leaders say, although Granger is trying to land a specialty-foods market for The Tennyson.

> Amenities
Tallahassee's downtown is vibrant during the day, from the state Capitol to the museums, libraries and other cultural amenities. Nighttime suffers from a dearth of entertainment choices.

> Wild Card
Whether Tallahassee's renaissance will extend to nearby Frenchtown remains to be seen. Once a thriving and well-off cultural and residential center for African-Americans, the area began to lose population and business in the 1970s and has a nearly 50% poverty rate. Various state and local programs aim to help the community regain its prominence.


Residential Units
750 (including units built and under construction; 2,500 more are planned.)

> Noteworthy Projects
Radius -- luxury condo towers with ground-floor retail by FIRM Realty of Hollywood and Lane Investment of Atlanta. Radius is generating buzz because of its curvilinear shape. The project's 311 units sold out in one month, at prices from the low $200,000s to $600,000s. The $90-million project is expected to be finished next year.

Young Circle Commons -- a 321-unit condo by Southern Facilities Development of Miami includes 25,000 square feet of commercial space. The project has sparked controversy because a 19-story condo will incorporate the historic Great Southern Hotel, built by town founder Joseph Young in the '20s. Some say that will ruin the Great Southern; Mayor Mara Giulianti says the project is the best way to save it.

Young Circle ArtsPark -- an $18-million public project that will add amenities such as fountains, a 2,000-seat amphitheater, indoor theater and artists' studios.

> Downtown Leaders
Successful redevelopment takes years of public investment and political support. Mayor Mara Giulianti, first elected in 1986, has been a steady provider of both for nearly two decades.

Steve Berman, president of FIRM Realty, has been a pioneer of redevelopment downtown not once, but three times. He built the first new commercial/residential project in many years, the first spec office building in many years and now is building downtown's first luxury condo project, Radius.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
Publix held on at Young Circle Shopping Center for four decades, even during years of urban decay downtown. The shopping center was just acquired by North Miami-based Equity One for $22 million. President Doran Valero says his mixed-use redevelopment will include a spiffed-up Publix, new retail and hundreds of apartments above retail.

> Amenities
It's hard to find an ethnic food that isn't represented in downtown Hollywood. The area is increasingly popular for artists and art aficionados. There are a dozen galleries downtown, and the city hosts a popular "ArtWalk" once a month.

> Wild Card
Transit. More people downtown means more cars in the already gridlocked area. One possible solution: New passenger rails along the old Florida East Coast Railway tracks, which run through the heart of downtown Hollywood. Local officials, including Hollywood Mayor Mara Giulianti, have pushed for several years for heavy or light rail along the old FEC tracks, so far without success.


Residential Units
738 (under construction or near completion. More are planned.)

> Noteworthy Projects
Streetscape improvements throughout the downtown, a walkway along the Intracoastal and pedestrian access to the Atlantic Avenue bridge.

The Strand -- 134 condo units, from the mid-$300,000 to the $800,000s. Developer: Ironwood Properties, Cary Glickstein's Delray Beach company.

Bamboo -- four, three-story townhomes, 19 condos and five office spaces. Pricing hasn't been finalized, but some units will be in the mid-$200,000s and some into the $600,000s. Ground breaking will be later this year. Developer: Delray Beach's Alejandro Gomez.

Avenue East and West Fifth -- two projects of Charlotte, N.C.-based developer Faison. Avenue East is a five-story, 55-condo-unit building, with units priced from the $360,000s to $900,000s. West Fifth is a four-story, 12-condo-unit building, with 2,300-sq.-ft., one-level units, a rooftop pool and condos priced from the mid-$800,000s to mid-$900,000s. Ground breaking is scheduled for October. Both projects were designed by Randall Stofft, designer of one of Celine Dion's homes.

The Seagate Hotel and Spa at Atlantic -- a four-story, 66-suite hotel to be built on Atlantic Avenue within two blocks of the beach. The existing Seagate Hotel on A1A in Delray will be torn down by HHC and replaced with 32 luxury condos, and the Seagate Beach Club there will be expanded. Developer: Hotelier E. Anthony Wilson and his Boynton Beach-based HHC Florida.

> Downtown Leaders
As head of Ironwood Properties, developer of The Strand, Cary Glickstein was a key figure in putting housing downtown with his Town Square project and has been important in the move to craft design guidelines in the beach area to preserve the sense of a village by the sea.

Janet Onnen, president of Meisner Electric, was the first major investor in Pineapple Grove and got the redevelopment of Pineapple Grove Way started with her Ocean City lumber project.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
There are no grocery stores downtown, though The Strand would like a gourmet market to occupy retail space in its building.

> Amenities
Delray's appeal has been its lively small-town feeling combined with a long active restaurant and cocktail scene. It's just a short walk to the beach.

> Wild Card
Architecture and scale. Many existing residents like the small-scale feel of the town, but economic pressures and demand are making for larger and larger homes and projects.


Residential Units
616 (new residential units since Jan. 2001.)

> Noteworthy Projects
Grand Central Station -- the deteriorating shopping center is getting a complete redo. The new development will contain 300 condo units, a new branch campus for Florida Gulf Coast University and specialty shops and restaurants. Developer: Antaramian Development Corp.

Naples Bay Resort -- this waterfront development will include an 85-unit luxury hotel/condo, 30 luxury waterfront residences and 108 units in more secluded "cottages." Developers: Antaramian Development Corp. and the Ersa Grae Group.

Four Corners -- Naples is planning to revamp its gateway, where U.S. 41 meets Fifth Avenue South.

Park Street Redevelopment -- the city has been accepting proposals for a new civic/cultural center complex on Park Street. The plan envisions open public space and an expansion of the Von Liebig Art Center and redevelopment of Naples Woman's Club property for mixed-use opportunities.

> Downtown Leaders
Developer Phil McCabe, the owner of McCabe's Irish Pub and The Inn on Fifth, has been an integral part of Naples' renaissance. He's planning a project that includes 146 residential units ranging from $1.2 million to $3.2 million.

Jack Antaramian is Naples' Daddy Warbucks. The developer of the two most prominent ongoing projects successfully convinced the city council that three-story buildings and residential units were essential to any revitalization.

> Grocery Stores and Retail
Fifth Avenue South, a central artery through the heart of the downtown, provides excellent shops, fine dining and galleries galore. An upscale market called Wynn's on Fifth is a local favorite. The elegant shopping area between 3rd and 9th Streets South has a Rodeo Drive-like appeal.

> Amenities
Fifth Avenue South once again bustles thanks to an intense revitalization effort in the 1990s. The area features 16 new buildings -- including a theater and community art center. The avenue also draws people at night with theater performances by the Naples Players at the Sugden Community Theatre and the "Evening on Fifth" events featuring street art, music, magicians and sidewalk sales. The "Tin City" area, with its unusual shops and waterfront cafes, also attracts visitors.

> Wild Card
Will a redesigned downtown compromise local flavor? As developers beef up the downtown, several longtime shop owners are having to relocate, including Naples Coins & Jewelry and Uncle Bob's Screen Printing & Signs.


Jacksonville's plans for revitalizing a riverfront that's rife with potential stalled for four years because of the city's failed contract with TriLegacy Group to develop 40 acres known as the Shipyards. City officials hope a new Shipyards deal they inked this summer with developer LandMar Group will put things back on course. The Jacksonville company plans to offer condominiums along the St. Johns River as early as next year, at projected prices from less than $300,000 to more than $1 million. Once LandMar creates a residential core, it hopes to fill in the site with offices, shops and hotels over the next two decades. Eight acres will be set aside for public use, including an extension of the city's Riverwalk, new pocket parks along the river, and the transformation of a 680-foot pier into a public park. "People will really be able to walk the river and get out onto the river," says LandMar's Jim Doyle. "That's something you haven't been able to do from downtown."

Punta Gorda's ambitious downtown redevelopment, Harbor Project, had a serious setback last summer when Hurricane Charley pummeled the city. Turns out, it was a good thing the city ended up with the project's central 15 acres at its disposal. In the aftermath of the storm, relief workers used the site to pile up a mountain of debris. If this year's storm season cooperates, construction will begin on Harbor Project, a mixed-use development that will link downtown Punta Gorda to Charlotte Harbor, U.S. 41 North and the old Charlotte County Courthouse. The $1.8-million project, which will include a public waterfront marketplace and esplanade, is supposed to be finished in 2007.

Bradenton and Manatee County are working together on a redevelopment plan for a decaying strip of Tamiami Trail. The plan aims to transform 230 blighted acres along 14th Street West from Manatee Avenue to Cortez Road, luring mixed-use developments with 500 new housing units as well as retail shops, offices, hotels and grocers...

Fort Pierce is considering a trolley to ease traffic gridlock and draw more people to the city's historic waterfront downtown...

Panama City's downtown redevelopment plans stalled this summer when development company Magnum Capital terminated its agreement with the Downtown Improvement Board to buy the 11-acre Bay Line Railroad train depot property. The DIB will remarket the property.

Tags: Big Bend, Central, Miami-Dade, North Central, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Space Coast, Around Florida, Tampa Bay, Treasure Coast, Housing/Construction, Northwest

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