The owners of the Tierra Verde Marina will soon begin digging into the next phase of their construction and renovation project.
Digging a pool, to be specific.
Owner Richard Fabrizi said he plans to start construction on a waterside pool, poolside bars and private cabanas now that the dock renovation is complete.
These projects are the second phase of a marina, restaurant and condo project that was undertaken after the controversial annexation of the property at 100 Pinellas Bayway S by St. Petersburg.
The first phase — restoring the marina and installing new boat slips — is finished, and the slips are ready for occupancy, Fabrizi said.
"We have 88 available slips, and 40 can be customized with boat lifts," Fabrizi said. "We spent $3 million to bring new public wet slips to the city of St. Pete. They have state-of-the-art amenities to keep the basin calm."
The Tierra Verde Community Association, which has vocally opposed the development, is still banking on having the annexation of 18 acres — including Fabrizi's land — on the unincorporated barrier island voided.
If that happens, the island would revert to its unincorporated status, and a new all-or-nothing law that went into effect in June would prevent spot-annexation from happening again.
All annexation attempts in the future would be voted on by Tierra Verde residents.
"No one is against him improving the docks," said Frank Lauro, administrator for the community association. "There was never a question about that."
It's the rest of what is planned by the developer, Tierra Verde Marina Holdings LLC, that has the residents hoping pending lawsuits overturn the annexation.
Residents fear St. Petersburg will allow a condo or hotel — the last phase of the project — to be built taller and with higher density than is currently allowed, endangering residents if they ever had to evacuate.
"There's only one way off this island," Lauro said.
But residents might not have to worry any time soon.
Fabrizi, a former contractor and nightclub owner who paid $21 million in 2005 for his 7-acre parcel on the Intracoastal Waterway, has said he is not afraid the annexation will be overturned. But he does acknowledge being slowed by the economy.
Asked about the planned eight-story condo and hotel, he said, "With the economy the way it is, we don't know what we're doing with that right now."