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Susan Taylor Martin, Times Senior Correspondent

Susan Taylor Martin

For someone who doesn't particularly care to fly, Tampa Bay Times senior correspondent Susan Taylor Martin has logged a lot of hours in the air — in the past decade she has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China. She covered the invasion of Iraq, the war in Kosovo and the war against terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan. On 9/11, she and two other Times staffers got in Martin's aging car and drove 24 hours nonstop from Tampa Bay to New York City, her hometown. Among the other breaking stories Susan has covered were the death and funeral of Princess Diana, the funeral of Jordan's King Hussein and the handover of Hong Kong to China. There have been lighter moments, too. Martin has written about a restaurant in Jerusalem dedicated to Elvis Presley's memory; a Scottish hamlet that finally got TV and hated it; and the gay and transvestite scene in Turkey, a conservative Muslim country. Her hobbies include figure skating, antiquing, flea-marketing, and rooting for the Blue Devils basketball team of Duke University (her alma mater).

Martin has won numerous state and national journalism awards, including the 2007 Paul Hansell Award presented by the Florida Society of News Editors for distinguished writing and reporting.

Phone: (727) 893-8642


Blog: Hot Spots

  1. Millennials in Tampa Bay are starting to buy houses and that's going to revolutionize real estate

    Real Estate

    When Michael Berry first moved into Tampa's Madison at Soho condos, he liked being smack in the midst of the lively bar and restaurant scene on South Howard Avenue.

    That was two years ago. Now Berry is 26, about to turn 27. So is his fiance, Alicia Kais.

    "We've had our fun here, but it's a little loud, a lot of college students,'' Berry says. "We're slowly growing out of that.''

    So Berry and Kais are starting to look for a house, one with room for their dog, Pickles, and Berry's 19-foot boat. In doing so, they are joining thousands of others in their generation in a quest that could revolutionize America's residential real estate business. ...

    Michael Berry and his fiance, Alicia Kais, are both 26 and about to turn 27. [Photo courtesy of Michael Berry]
  2. Ambitious riverfront project featuring hotel, offices, retail and residences planned for Tampa

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Convinced that the city is on a "very positive trajectory,'' a Tampa-based real estate firm is planning an ambitious project that would include residences, offices, retail and hotel space on the west bank of the Hillsborough River near downtown Tampa.

    If it came to fruition, the proposed Lafayette Place would represent another major step in redevelopment of the west bank area, where a $35 million makeover of the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park is well under way....

    The proposed Lafayette Place development will house residential, office and retail spaces.
  3. Are you a fan of mid-century homes and design? Then Sarasota is the place to be in mid-November

    Real Estate

    On visits to Sarasota, Janet Minker and her husband enjoyed strolling through the city's Lido Shores area to ogle its stunning mid-century homes. Airy and elegantly simple, they epitomize the renowned Sarasota School of Architecture, whose most famous member, Paul Rudolph, designed the city's Umbrella House and later headed Yale University's architecture department.

    Eight years ago, Minker moved from Washington, D.C., to Florida, where she has indulged her love for mid-century structures as chairwoman of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation. Started in 2001 to increase awareness of the city's important role in modern architecture, the foundation is hosting the third annual Sarasota Mod Weekend on Nov. 11-13 in partnership with the Sarasota Museum of Art....

    Sarasota's  Umbrella House, designed by architect Paul Rudolph in 1953, is among the mid-century masterpieces spotlighted during the 3rd annual Sarasota Mod Weekend Nov. 11-13. Photo by Anton Grassi
  4. Tampa Bay leads the state in home sales as prices jump 13.6 percent

    Real Estate

    Tampa Bay led the state in sales of single family homes in September as prices continued their steady gains.

    In the four-county bay area, 4,096 houses sold last month — up 7 percent over September 2015 and about a fifth of all homes sold in Florida. Prices rose 13.6 percent, more than two percentage points above the state average.

    "It's been a healthy year, the best year in a long time,'' said broker Alex Jansen of Coastal Properties Group International, based in Clearwater Beach....

    This home in St. Petersburg's Snell Isle area sold for $4.5 million in September, the most of any home in the Tampa Bay area that month. Photo by Chris Della Penna.
  5. Should this key block of downtown St. Petersburg be turned into office space or more apartments and condos?

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — For a decade, the big question about the 400 block of Central Avenue was: How do you get rid of the decrepit old buildings there to allow room for redevelopment?

    Now that demolition is underway and the site soon will be cleared, the question is: What kind of redevelopment would be best for a block in the heart of one of Florida's most vibrant downtowns?

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has an answer: a hotel and especially office space. ...

    This is a rendering of a new building 400 Central Avenue in Downtown St. Petersburg, though there appears to be disagreement on whether the building should be office space or residential. Credit: Ralph Zirinsky
  6. The Tampa Bay area is a great place for investors to buy and rent out homes, study finds

    Real Estate

    For investors wanting to buy and rent out single-family homes, the Tampa Bay area is a good place to do it.

    In the first half of this year, a new survey shows, all four bay area counties exceeded the national average for gross rental yield on investor-owned houses. (Gross yield is the annual rental income divided by the price paid for the property.)

    Hernando not only led other Tampa Bay counties, it also ranked among the top 22 counties nationwide for high-yield, low-vacancy rentals. Investors who bought Hernando houses collected an average monthly rent of $1,407, for a 14 percent yield, and experienced vacancy rates of just 2 percent. ...

    A recent study says Tampa Bay is a good place for investors to buy and rent out homes. LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times
  7. Paul Bilzerian's mansion, Tampa Bay's most expensive foreclosure, finally sells for $2.85 million

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The "sold'' sign has finally gone up on Tampa Bay's most notorious and expensive foreclosure — the former Avila mansion of disgraced corporate raider Paul Bilzerian.

    In late September, a trust paid $2.85 million for the 28,000-square-foot lakefront estate and guest house with a total of 10 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and six half-baths. Other amenities include indoor basketball and racquet ball courts, four fireplaces and a wine room....

    The Avila mansion of corporate raider Paul Bizerian, Tampa Bay's most expensive foreclosure, has sold for $2.85 million. TIMES FILES
  8. New apartment building planned for St. Petersburg's growing Edge District

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — A South Florida company has started work on a 218-unit apartment building in St. Petersburg's increasingly vibrant Edge District.

    The five-story Bainbridge 930 Central Flats on Central Avenue will have studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments renting for about $1,160 to $2,500 a month. They will be in the heart of a once-tired area on the fringe of downtown that is being transformed by new bars, shops and restaurants....

    Jonathan Daou sold the land to the Bainbridge Cos.
  9. Tampa Bay neighborhood ravaged by the housing crash makes its way back; but could it happen again?

    Real Estate

    GIBSONTON — During the boom years of the early 2000s, the dream of home ownership lured hundreds of buyers to a new community called Kings Lake.

    For less than $135,000, they could get a two-story house with four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. They could get mortgages with little or nothing down. No worry — prices were quickly heading up, doubling in a couple of years.

    Until the market crashed....

    Julio Gonzales works on his car in the garage of his Kings Lake home. Gonzales, 37, his wife, and three children have been renting here for two years. Gonzales said his children are active in sports and he likes their school, but he said he doesn't know his neighbors. [LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times]
  10. New communities are springing up in south Hillsborough as older ones still recover from the crash

    Real Estate

    GIBSONTON — As the first houses started going up in the Kings Lake community 15 years ago, there wasn't much else in Hillsborough County south of the Alafia River.

    No Amazon distribution center. No St. Joseph's Hospital. No Publix within 10 miles.

    Now there's all that and more, including a huge master-planned community, Waterset, directly across Big Bend Road from Kings Lake....

    Gail Sisouphone, who rents a home in Kings Lake, said traffic has gotten worse as a new housing community, Waterset, emerges across Big Bend Road. [LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times]

  11. See the old Pheil building in downtown St. Petersburg meet the wrecking ball (w/video)

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — The 6,500 pound wrecking ball looked smaller than expected, and the first swing of the ball came 44 minutes behind schedule.

    But as the ball finally slammed into the southwest corner of the historic Pheil hotel and a piece of aluminum grillwork came crashing down, a collective "ahh'' emerged from spectators lined this morning along on First Avenue South.

    "This is so people feel like they got their money's worth,'' said David Snyder as the ball knocked off larger sections of grillwork, gradually exposing the building's original windows and brick facade. ...

    The site of the former Pheil Hotel in dowtown St. Petersburg. CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
  12. Live now: Wrecking ball starts to take down the old Pheil Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — The final stages of demolition of the historic Pheil Hotel and bank are about to begin.

    Workers today began moving into place a lattice crane, which at 9 a.m. Wednesday is scheduled to hoist a 6,500 pound wrecking ball several feet above the 11-story hotel on the 400 block of Central Avenue. The massive hole created as the ball plunges through the center of the building will become a repository for pieces of the hotel as it is demolished over the next two weeks. ...

    The 1920s-era Pheil Hotel, dubbed the "cheese grater" after its metal facade added in the 1960s, is scheduled for demolition on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  13. As Tampa Bay home prices and rents climb, townhomes are becoming all the rage

    Real Estate

    When CalAtlantic Homes began selling its new townhouses off Tampa's Hillsborough Avenue in August, it knew it had one big marketing advantage over a nearby apartment community.

    There, a three-bedroom unit rents for at least $1,800 a month. But in CalAtlantic's Jackson Square, a three-bedroom townhome can be bought for just $1,587 a month.

    "You can own a really nice townhome in a nice gated community in a really great area for less than you can rent,'' says Dave Bulloch, CalAtlantic's Tampa division president. ...

     Townhomes are growing in popularity because the prices can be cheaper than renting.  The Jackson Square Townhomes in west Hillsborough county are almost completed. JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times
  14. Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price buys St. Petersburg home for $3.3 million cash

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Boston Red Sox Pitcher David Price is returning to the Tampa Bay area — as a property owner.

    A trust representing Price, who made his Major League debut with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, paid $3.3 million cash in late September for a house on St. Petersburg's Snell Isle. Built five years ago, the four-bedroom, six bath home has 6,500 heated square feet and overlooks Coffee Pot Bayou....

    This waterfront home in St. Petersburg's Snell Isle area was recently purchased for $3.3 million buy a trust connected to Boston Red Sox pitcher and former Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price. SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN   |   Times

  15. Foreclosures in Hillsborough County have finally dropped below pre-housing market crash levels

    Real Estate

    If there's one sign that the Tampa Bay area has recovered from the housing crash, this could be it: New foreclosure filings in Hillsborough County have plunged to levels not seen for a decade.

    For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, there were just 2,786 new filings. That was almost 12,400 fewer than in 2008-2009 and less than half the number in 2006-2007, when the market had yet to go into free fall. ...

    Foreclosure filings in Hillsborough County have finally dropped to pre-housing crash levels. STEVE MADDEN | TIMES