08/17/17 Real Estate
You might not be a millionaire, but chances are greater now that you live in a million-dollar Tampa Bay neighborhood.
In the past year, the region has gained two more ZIP code areas — downtown St. Petersburg's 33701 and South Tampa's 33609 — in which at least 10 percent of the homes are worth $1 million or more, Zillow says.
That brings the total of Tampa Bay high-end ZIPS to six and marks a bigger one-year gain than in many other metro areas including Atlanta, Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Chicago and Orlando....
08/17/17 Real Estate
Oreste Mesa Jr. owns a modest 40-year-old house in West Tampa just off MacDill Avenue. It's an area where many homeowners are hearing the siren song of builders and cashing out while the market is strong.
But Mesa has no intention of joining them. Since he and his wife stuck a "for rent" sign on the lawn this summer, they've had their pick of tenants from among 80 callers.
"We don't need the money as far as selling it," Mesa says, "and right now we get more in rent than we would if we invested in something else."...
08/16/17 Real Estate
TAMPA —Eleven years after plans to develop a waterfront tract on the Tampa side of the Gandy Bridge were first announced, a new rendering gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District ultimately will look like.
BTI Partners, master developer of the $600 million district, has started an "interest list" of potential buyers in the 16-story Marina Pointe tower overlooking Tampa Bay.
Prices for the seven townhomes and 112 condos in the boomerang-shaped tower will range from the $600,000s to more than $1.5 million. Among the features: a two-level lobby with concierge service; a Residents' Pointe Club with bar; a massage, yoga and exercise studio; and locker rooms with steam rooms and showers. An elevated amenity deck is to include a pool, fireplace, bocce ball court and summer kitchen. ...
TAMPA — Bishop Melvin Jefferson and his wife, Brenda, have a busy travel schedule this year as they spread the word of their Tampa-based ministry. Atlanta; New Orleans; Austin, Texas; Kenya.
There's one stop they didn't tout: a court-ordered trip to Detroit on Aug. 30.
For 13 years, Melvin Jefferson and his Deeper Life Christian Church have failed to pay a $1.5 million judgment stemming from their aborted purchase of a historic theater in Detroit. Officials there want to grill the 68-year-old Jefferson on his financial affairs as they try to determine whether he and the church should be forced to pay up....
08/08/17 Real Estate
Wells Fargo will pay the federal government $108 million to settle a federal whisteblower case, leaving Bill Edwards and his St. Petersburg-based Mortgage Investors Corp.as the sole remaining defendants.
The nation's third largest bank agreed to the payment to avoid trial this month on allegations that it, Mortgage Investors Corp.(MIC) and other lenders cheated veterans and taxpayers out of millions of dollars by charging illegal fees and then seeking to collect on federal loan guarantees when borrowers defaulted....
08/07/17 Real Estate
For the fourth time in four years, the Florida Bar has filed a complaint accusing prominent Tampa Bay lawyer Mark Stopa of professional misconduct.
The most recent complaint, filed July 27, says Stopa defied a judge's order in one mortgage foreclosure case and represented two people in another case without their knowledge or consent.
If found guilty, Stopa could face penalties ranging from a public reprimand to disbarment. The 40-year-old Stopa, who represented hundreds of homeowners during the foreclosure crisis and was often quoted in the media, called it "a shame'' to focus attention on a few complaints after he helped so many owners. ...
08/04/17 Real Estate
TAMPA — A La Carte Pavilion, home to scores of weddings, charity galas and other events over the years, is making way for residences.
Taylor Morrison, one of the nation's largest homebuilders, closed this week on the 13-acre waterfront site for $10.5 million, a year after another builder backed out.
The seller, Egypt Shrine Holding Corp., has received $3 million and will hold a $7.5 million mortgage while Taylor Morrison goes through the permitting process....
08/03/17 Real Estate
TAMPA — During the heyday of the cigar industry, Perfecto Garcia and his brothers employed more than 1,000 people in their fields, their stores and in the big brick factory on 16th Street where workers rolled the finest Cuban tobacco into namesake cigars.
The factory closed in 1982, victim of the Cuban embargo, mechanization, consolidation and changing consumer tastes. But the century-old Perfecto Garcia building with distinctive water tower still stands and is now on the market — awaiting a new lease on life....
08/03/17 Real Estate
TAMPA — Dan and Tekla Ulrich have received several offers for their vintage duplex looking out at the Marjorie Park Marina on Davis Islands. None of the offers has suited them, so on this steamy evening they are waiting for the start of an auction at which they hope their home of 40 years will finally sell for the price they want.
But first, they must spend an hour watching potential bidders troop through, critically eying every nook and cranny....
08/02/17 Real Estate
A St. Petersburg company is suing a major law firm and one of its Tampa partners for alleged malpractice, claiming they bungled patent applications for a prosthetic liner and a device that heats shaving cream.
In separate lawsuits filed in federal and state court, ALPS South, LLC is seeking more than $60 million from Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick and an unspecified amount from the firm and attorney Ronald Christaldi....
08/01/17 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — With time fast running out, the fate of one of St. Petersburg's oldest, most historic homes appears to rest with a South Florida preservationist.
"It's really going to take a miracle to save that beautiful little house but I believe in miracles,'' said Kathleen Slesnick Kauffman, who until recently served as Miami-Dade County's historic preservation chief.
Kauffman said Monday that she hopes to relocate and renovate the Victorian-style house, which was built in 1905 by a Methodist minister and once might have been the home of local African-American leader Elder Jordan. But the new owner of the house — which offered it free to anyone willing to move it — is eager to get along with plans to put eight townhomes on the site at 758 3rd Ave S....
07/26/17 Real Estate
For the second time in six weeks, a company connected to lawyer Roy C. Skelton stood poised to profit from a Pinellas County foreclosure auction that confused even experienced real estate investors.
Like the case of a gulf-front condo that sold for $458,100 in June to an unsuspecting bidder, a Largo townhouse sold for $112,300 last week to a man who thought he was bidding on a first mortgage and would own the home free and clear. ...
07/24/17 Real Estate
Tampa Bay home prices rose again in June, although the once-torrid pace of increases shows signs of slowing.
For the first time in several months, year-over-year price gains were in the single digits in two of the bay's area's four counties.
The change was particularly striking in Pasco, where the median price for a house in June — $202,995 — rose 7 percent over the same month in 2016. In November and January, by comparison, Pasco's median price shot up almost 25 percent ...
07/24/17 Real Estate
CLEARWATER — Less than four months after it sold for a record $11.18 million, the waterfront Century Oaks estate is back on the market — for $19.75 million.
The huge price leap reflects the fact that "it's been completely redone," listing agent Terry Novitsky said Monday. Among the upgrades: new carpeting throughout the 17,000- square-foot home, new Versace wallpaper, a new master bathroom and a new movie theater. The three-bedroom, three- bath guesthouse also has been remodeled. ...
07/21/17 Real Estate
On a scale of desirability, the house for sale on Whittner Drive in Land O' Lakes would rank fairly low. It's a short sale; it sits on an unstabilized sinkhole and it's within a few miles of two houses that collapsed into a gargantuan hole July 14.