Another big apartment project slated for downtown St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Yet another apartment project is in the works for downtown. A complex with 348 units, the most yet in the post-recession building boom, is tentatively named 700 First and will rise eight stories at 700 First Ave. S.

There are four other apartment projects already under construction downtown that will create a combined 845 rental units when they are completed.

This latest on the drawing board will encompass the entire city block and offer a mid- to high-end rental community, according to filings with the city by the project's architect.

The vacant block between Seventh and Eighth streets and First and Second avenues S that once included a gas station is already undergoing cleanup of non-hazardous waste. The site is across Seventh Street from the former YWCA that is being converted into two restaurants.

"I'm excited. This would be fabulous for everybody," said Trish Moore, who owns the historic YWCA building. Rococo Steak and Brass Tap craft beer pub are opening in her 1920s building in the fall after a renovation costing more than $1 million.

"I have always had to buy on the downside and hope and pray that the neighborhood would come up around it. This is a great neighborhood," she added.

St. Petersburg's ARC Group is developing the apartment project on land it bought for $4.1 million in 2001. Peter Apostolou, an ARC Group partner, declined to comment.

Filings with the city indicate 700 First will include a parking structure, courtyard and public art. There will also be about 15,000 square feet of retail space that would likely house a coffee shop or cafe with indoor and outdoor seating.

That is far from enough space for a Whole Foods store, though word on the street is the upscale grocer is eying that area of downtown.

"The downtown market would seem to be perfect for a Whole Foods," said Dave Goodwin, the city's planning and economic development director. "We've given a lot of information to various brokers related to retail development."

He said he didn't know if Whole Foods is working with any of those brokers. The upscale, health-oriented store was considering building on the block where the Synovus Bank building sits at 333 Third Ave. N late last year but nothing has materialized.

Katherine Snow Smith can be contacted at (727) 893-8785 or kssmith@tampabay.com.

Another big apartment project slated for downtown St. Petersburg 08/13/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 6:02pm]

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