ST. PETERSBURG — Palazzo Di Oro, an assisted living facility that closed suddenly two years ago amid financial problems, has been sold.
The new owners, who bought the property for $2 million, plan to reopen the facility under the name Grand Villa of St. Petersburg in about 18 months. Before then, extensive renovations are planned for the property at 3600 34th St. S.
City Council member Steve Kornell, who represents the area, welcomed the news. It will be good to see the neglected property revitalized, he said.
The announcement also is good news for evolving efforts to transform 34th Street S.
"It's an amazing stretch of the city and we're not getting the commercial development that we had hoped for," Kornell said, emphasizing that he has no complaints about a new ALF on the busy corridor.
"I hope whoever is coming in operates it in a high-quality manner," he said.
"We have been an operator in this area for 25 years and have felt that that area of St. Petersburg had an underserved need," said Alex Lopez, director of sales and management for Senior Management Advisors, one of the new owners.
"We like the location because of its proximity to some really good neighborhoods down there. It's very accessible, very visible for the community. It's a very nice campus. It has a potential to be a beautiful property."
The new facility, which will offer assisted living and memory care services, was bought by Senior Management Advisors of Clearwater and ValStone Partners, a private equity investment firm with offices in Birmingham, Mich., and Baltimore. Senior Management Advisors, which operates independent living, assisted living and Alzheimer's care communities in Florida and Georgia, is the owner of Grand Villa of Largo.
Lopez said the new owners anticipate spending more than $3 million to renovate the property across the street from historic St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church. Plans call for remodeling the first floor to include an Internet cafe, library, billiards parlor, beauty salon, barbershop and private dining room, along with large lounges and activity rooms.
Residents' rooms will be updated and will include kitchenettes with built-in refrigerators, microwaves, large closets and private baths with safety features. Bedrooms and bathrooms will have emergency alert call systems. Exterior upgrades are promised. The building will have approximately 150 units, with about 30 in a separate Alzheimer's and dementia care area, Lopez said.
The new ALF will hire about 50 people.
"We are already trying to recruit for some of the executive positions," Lopez said.
Built in 1971, the property has been occupied by hotels, a retirement community and most recently by Palazzo Di Oro, which went into foreclosure in 2011.
Early that year, the 78 or so elderly residents and their families got the stunning news that Palazzo Di Oro's operator, Senior Care Group of Tampa, had decided to shut the facility.
The property's new owners can be counted on, Lopez said.
"We have three generations of a family-owned, highly successful business, with 50 years of doing this. We've got a pretty good batting average," he said.
"I think our experience and our current position certainly as one of Florida's leading operators should provide some comfort that we are going to be there to stay. We are committed to the project."
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 892-2283.