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Alabama company plans condos in downtown St. Petersburg, may limit height to 20 stories

By Susan Taylor Martin
An Alabama company has confirmed that it plans a condo tower for property it recently bought for $2.365 million in downtown St. Petersburg. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times]

ST. PETERSBURG — An Alabama company has confirmed that it plans a condo tower for property it recently bought for $2.365 million in downtown St. Petersburg.

Although the sky is the limit, the proposed tower less than a mile from Albert Whited Airport likely would be held to around 20 stories to avoid the need for a public hearing and getting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, Beau Blackerby of BBWC St. Pete, LLC said this week.

Blackerby’s partner in the project, developer L.W. Cave of Mobile, previously said a "multi-story tower" was under consideration.

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"I feel like the market for apartments is strong. Obviously a lot of people are choosing to go the apartment route, but we have a dearth of condos downtown right now and not a whole lot of vacancies," Blackerby said. "It does seem to be an under-served market."

Tentative plans call for 40 to 50 units on the current site of two old houses on Third Street South across from the new 19-story, AER apartment tower. The condos would be built on a diagonal so owners wouldn’t be looking directly at AER but instead would have city views and even partial water views on higher floors, Blackerby said.

Zoning in the area essentially allows for buildings of unlimited height but there are fewer requirements for those under 300 feet, or about 30 stories.

Blackerby, who heads an Orlando investment firm, said he is familiar with St. Petersburg because his father lives in the city. His father introduced him to Cave, an old friend in Mobile, Ala., and the younger Blackerby and Cave began doing projects together.

"We have been wanting to get involved in downtown St. Pete for a long time and there’s not a whole lot of land and so much opportunity," Blackerby said. "We genuinely love the area, and the opportunity to put in a new, really high-tech tower that we can be proud of and attach our name to really appealed to us."

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate