320-apartment tower planned for downtown Tampa
The tower boom is definitely back in Tampa.
After years with almost no new residential construction, developers on Monday filed plans with the city of Tampa for yet another new downtown tower, this one called SkyHouse Channelside.
Added together, various projects in Tampa could bring more than 2,100 units to the market in the next couple of years, almost all of them rental apartments geared to the Generation Y demographic, which developers say wants to remain as mobile as possible.
The new tower would stand near the corner of 11th and Whiting streets and reach 23 stories tall, rivaling the Towers at Channelside on the south end of the neighborhood, and include 320 apartment units, with a ground-floor level of retail and a separate parking deck with 450 spaces.
If that sounds similar to other towers in town, here's one reason: The SkyHouse is backed by Atlanta-based Novare Group, which built the Skypoint and Element towers in downtown Tampa.
Formally, Novare Group has filed only a rezoning request with the city, which is early in the process, but it already has momentum with similar, prototype “SkyHouse” towers under way or completed in Orlando, Houston, Austin, Texas, and two in Atlanta.
“Along the west coast of Florida, Tampa is the home to job creation for Gen Y, our primary target resident,” said Novare Group President Jim Borders in a statement to the Tribune. “This fits well with our strategy of serving the premier business centers of the Southeast with great high-rise rental residential communities.”
An estimated 4 million people will turn 22 every year for the next four years, said Mark Stewart, director of investments for Batson-Cook Development, a partner on the project. “Given the unique and attractive employment characteristics of Tampa, we see this market maintaining strong future growth and believe SkyHouse will be extremely well received.”
Residential apartments are the hottest project type in development lately, and various developers plan scores of new projects around this region: 246 units at 6608 S. Westshore Blvd.; 311 units in the “NoHo Flats” project near the University of Tampa at West Fig Street and North Rome Avenue; 231 units at the former Whiskey River site at 2206 W. Swann Ave.; 300 units at 4504 W. Spruce St. near International Plaza mall; several hundred units at the city-backed Encore development north of downtown at 1101 Ray Charles Blvd.; 367 units at the Crescent project on Bayshore Boulevard just south of the Platt Street Bridge.
Tampa developer Greg Minder, who originally was involved in the Skypoint and Element projects, also plans a residential tower adjacent to the Straz Center with 350 units – a project that has strong support from Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
Ken Stoltenberg, who built the Grand Central buildings in the Channel District also plans a tower with 316 units called The Martin, on the east side of Meridian Avenue, just south of East Twiggs Street, with a wide span of two-story retail space and a tower further to the east.
Often, the apartments in these structures are built in a way that makes it easier to convert them to condominiums later.
However, the financial markets have suddenly opened up for developers planning rental projects of some sort. That's a bet that despite 30-year mortgage rates below 4 percent, more young professionals and families will gravitate for one reason or another to renting a home instead of buying one.
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