Photo: RenderingRents at Beacon 430, a four-story apartment complex, likely will range from $1,100 to $2,500.
Southwest Florida roundup
St. Petersburg's new apartments offer urban lifestyle
If construction schedules hold, more apartments will be built in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, this year than in the past five years combined.
At least 850 new apartments are expected to open by year’s end in St. Petersburg’s urban core, which measures only 1.9 square miles. With another 706 apartments either under construction or permitted for construction but not yet close to completion, the number of multifamily dwelling units downtown is poised to grow by more than 16%, according to city officials.
If construction schedules hold, more apartments will be built downtown this year than in the past five years combined.
The new apartments are mostly geared toward young professionals who want to live near work and entertainment venues. They don’t necessarily see homeownership as a good investment and like the flexibility that comes from renting.
“The bulk of the people who are renting are 30-somethings. They’re out of college and in a job, and they don’t want to drive an hour to get to work,” says John Stone, a managing director of multifamily housing for Colliers International in Clearwater.
Historically, Tampa Bay’s apartment developments have been concentrated in suburban locations. Urban rentals have gained popularity not only in St. Petersburg, but also in Tampa, where about 2,500 market-rate apartments are being built downtown, says Byron Moger, an executive director in the multifamily advisory group for Cushman & Wakefield.
“The choices young adults are making have changed. They’re choosing an urban over a suburban lifestyle,” he says.
At Beacon 430, a four-story apartment project in downtown St. Petersburg, rents likely will range from $1,100 for a studio to $2,500 or more for a three-bedroom unit. Local amenities include the Salvador Dali Museum and the new Sundial retail center with Ruth’s Chris Steak House as a major tenant.
NRP Group, the Cleveland-based developer of Beacon 430, plans more luxury apartments downtown on two acres it’s buying from Times Publishing, owner of the Tampa Bay Times and Florida Trend.
“Downtown St. Petersburg has reached a critical mass. You have enough shops, art galleries and restaurants to make it attractive to residents, and you have enough residents to support all of that,” Moger says. “It’s a virtuous cycle.”
Tampa’s Ultramatics, a business software and IT outsourcing company, carved a niche for itself with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, helping large insurers meet new reporting requirements. Now it’s taking aim at online security threats. After last year’s Target data breach, more businesses are looking for help in safely storing sensitive customer information. “The hackers are becoming so sophisticated,” says Ultramatics marketing director John Paul Boukis. “We’re seeing companies have a lot of issues with this.” Ultramatics recently moved its headquarters from Oldsmar to Tampa’s Rocky Point, providing more room for growth, Boukis says.
CLEARWATER — GE Energy Management began construction on 190,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The expansion is expected to generate 250 jobs; GE already employs 430 in Clearwater.
FORT MYERS — Scott Fischer Enterprises plans to open a large Harley-Davidson motorcycle store near I-75 and Daniels Parkway this month as part of a 16.5-acre project called Six Bends. The fi rst phase also will include a motorcycleriding academy and event center.
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — Offi cials unveiled efforts to put a transit tax plan before Hillsborough voters in 2016. The proposal — similar to the Greenlight Pinellas referendum up for a vote this fall in Pinellas County — would call for an extra penny in sales tax to help pay for roads, buses, walkways and rail in Hillsborough.
PORT RICHEY — JCPenney closed its longtime store at Gulf View Square, one of 33 nationwide closures announced in January.
SARASOTA — Mobile health care communications fi rm Voalte created an offsite, product-development unit led by chief scientist Don Fletcher.
AutoXotic, which rents and sells luxury cars, opened a 6,700-sq.-ft. showroom off South Tamiami Trail.
SEMINOLE — The North American Development Group and Primerica Group One plan to raze the 49-year-old Seminole Mall and replace it with a more modern design featuring a movie theater, fi tness center, retail stores and restaurants.
ST. PETERSBURG — Downtown’s Sundial center, which replaces the old BayWalk, announced a retail lineup that includes Chico’s, lululemon, Swim ’n Sport and Tommy Bahama. A Ruth’s Chris Steak House, a spa and barbershop also are part of the mix. > Trader Joe’s pushed back its store opening from this year until next year, citing a construction delay. > The city’s Development Review Commission approved plans to convert a vacant building into a new craft brewery, Pinellas Ale Works, that will cater to baseball fans and bicyclists near Tropicana Field and the Pinellas Trail.
TAMPA — The Columbia Restaurant Group’s newest eatery, Ulele Native- Inspired Food and Spirits, opened next to a restored Water Works Park in the historic Tampa Heights neighborhood. AquaVenture Holdings, which does business as Seven Seas Water, received $26 million in venture capital during the second quarter, the second most of any Florida company, according to a MoneyTree report. Temporary staffing company Kforce sold its health care unit to Chicago privateequity fi rm Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Co. For $119 million in cash. Technology services firm Tribridge announced plans to nearly double its local work force by 2016 with the expansion of its Tampa headquarters. Tribridge employs 600 nationwide, including 240 in Tampa Bay; another 200 local IT jobs are expected. Tribridge will get $1 million in state and local government subsidies if it creates the new jobs at above-average pay.
Terry Osborn, previously regional vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, became interim regional chancellor, replacing Arthur Guilford, who stepped down in July.
Andreas Pleschutzning was named chief technical offi cer at Fort Myers-based search engine company Yippy after working as a networking engineering contractor.
Greg Stemm, co-founder of Odyssey Marine Exploration in Tampa, will become chairman and relinquish the CEO post by year’s end to president and COO Mark Gordon.