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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Apartment development booms — 600 more units planned

TAMPA — The Tampa Bay area’s apartment boom shows no signs of slowing down, with at least two more developers planning nearly 600 apartments in Hillsborough County.

If the projects are built, they would add more fuel to what is the Bay area’s hottest real estate sector. The Tribune has counted as many as 28 proposed apartment projects that are recently completed or in some stage of development, which could add as many as 7,500 units to the area.

The first project would put 352 units in a formerly overlooked corner of south Tampa, the Port Tampa area near MacDill Air Force Base. Developers already plunked down two new multi-family complexes near Port Tampa in recent years, the just-finished Jefferson Westshore apartment community and another recent project called Casa Bella.

Richard Coley Sr., a longtime Tampa apartment developer, recently bought 23 acres at the corner of Prescott Street and Westshore Boulevard from an affiliate of Fifth Third Bank. There, he hopes to construct 12 three-story buildings in a Bermuda style, featuring the colors of the island. A picture of a similar Bermuda-style complex Coley built in Sarasota shows salmon- and yellow-colored buildings with metallic roofs, with some units featuring private garages.

Rents should run about $900 for a one-bedroom to $1,700 for a three-bedroom unit, he said.

All told, the project will cost about $43.5 million, and Coley has hired the Cushman & Wakefield real estate firm to help him find a joint venture partner with deep pockets. He’ll have to do some environmental cleanup, because the adjacent train tracks have traces of arsenic. However, he said he jumped at the property because it’s one of the last remaining big chunks of land in south Tampa.

“I’ve had a couple banks call me and say, ‘We’re really interested in your construction financing,’ ” Coley said. “I’ve not had someone say that in eight years.”

The second project, Altis at Highland Park, would bring 239 upscale units to an area near Westchase in western Hillsborough County. A Boca Raton-based developer called the Altman Cos. recently closed on 10 acres on Fountainhead Drive near Race Track Road.

There, it plans a mix of studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Marketing director Eric Clark didn’t have a rent range Tuesday, but Altman appears to be targeting the luxury market with such features as granite countertops and Italian marble vanities.

Altman just opened a 258-unit apartment project in Lutz called Altis at Grand Cypress earlier this year.

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