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Developer wants to build apartments in Tampa's Channelside district.

Cranes could rise above the Channelside district this fall if a developer wins approval to build a multifamily residential project.

The Miami-based Related Group hopes to construct 360 apartments on vacant land just north of the Towers of Channelside. The four-story units could eventually be switched to condominiums.

The firm sees long-term potential in the Channelside district because of it's proximity to many downtown jobs, said Steve Patterson, president and chief executive of Related Development LLC.

Rents would range from about $1,250 to $2,200. The four buildings and two parking garages would take about two years to build. Patterson said the project's cost will not be determined until plans are finalized.

Although the project is in the early stages, the company would like to break ground in the third quarter. Patterson said feedback from district residents has been favorable.

"We feel good about this," he said.

The firm bought the land, 5.8 acres, from Regions Bank for $6.5 million in December.

The project would border 12th Street, Whiting Street and Meridian and Cumberland avenues.

The city has been working with the company to shape its plans, said Mark Huey, Tampa's economic development administrator. The project has the potential to draw hundreds of residents to the district and attract even more retail and service operations, he said.

"We're excited that they believe in the progress of this district," Huey said. "It is very positive news."

The public, Huey said, can learn about the proposed plans at the Florida Aquarium on March 23 at 5:30 p.m.

Multifamily buildings are the hottest commodity in the real estate market, and experts expect the sector to be the top performer in commercial real estate this year. Very few apartment buildings have been built recently in Tampa Bay.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markapuente.

Developer wants to build apartments in Tampa's Channelside district. 03/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 11, 2011 10:58pm]

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