03/27/15 Real Estate
Not so long ago, Rainbow Court mobile home park was a peaceful, pleasant community of senior citizens.
Today it is a Mad Max, dystopian landscape of broken and abandoned trailers.
Windows are shattered, some hammered over with plywood. Doors open to rooms stripped of everything that could be carted away. All is eerily quiet but for the occasional shouts of one man drunkenly accusing another of stealing what little is left....
03/16/15 Real Estate
Did you miss out on owning one of Tampa Bay's 10 most expensive homes last year?
Not to worry — a nearly 6-acre estate on private Dickman Island is back on the market after just seven months.
The five-bedroom, six-bath house with 800 feet of frontage on Tampa Bay is priced at $5.995 million, or $445,000 more than it sold for in August. But this time it comes furnished and is almost fully permitted for what would be one of the bay area's few private helipads....
03/13/15 Real Estate
TAMPA — For Doreen Rosselli, Carrollwood's Grande Oasis condominium has provided a lushly landscaped refuge from the cacophony of urban life.
For Silviya Gregory, a young nurse from Bulgaria, Grande Oasis has meant home in a country where she has no family.
And for Yuclen and Horace Freeman, both in their 80s, Grande Oasis is where they assumed they would spend the rest of their days....
03/10/15 Real Estate
Due to the "tremendous resurgence" of downtown St. Petersburg's condo market, the developer of a 358-unit high-rise originally planned for rental apartments is exploring a sale that could convert it to a condo project.
American Land Ventures has hired a South Florida real estate brokerage to try to arrange the sale of 330 Third, a 17-story high-rise under construction on Third Street S a few blocks from the waterfront. ...
03/06/15 Real Estate
Exactly 90 years ago this week, Babe Ruth made his first-ever trip to St. Petersburg for spring training as a marching band played Hail to the Chief and half the town turned out to greet the nation's most famous baseball player. Now you too could be part of the Babe's legend — the waterfront estate where the New York Yankee slugger sometimes stayed is on the market.
Just bring peanuts, Cracker Jack and $2.99 million....
03/06/15 Economic Development
By the time Lauren Brooks decided to buy rather than rent, housing prices in her Hyde Park neighborhood had gone prohibitively high. So she bought a condo in what many considered a peculiar place to live: the West Shore business district.
Brooks, though, found the area "really promising. There seemed to be a lot of opportunity for a lot of growth."
That was back in 2005, when West Shore primarily evoked images of shopping malls and office parks. But Brooks, a city planner, proved prescient about an area whose urban amenities and easy access to almost every place in Tampa Bay are making it one of the region's up-and-coming residential markets....
02/27/15 Real Estate
The Case of the Not-Welcome Neighbor has moved into court.
In a recently filed lawsuit, Dr. Nathan Hameroff alleges that the "unspeakable behavior" of fellow Signature Place condo owner Brian Daly has driven off tenants and affected the quality of life in the downtown St. Petersburg high-rise.
"Starting in 2010, (Daly) has created a nuisance by his unlawful acts, smells, harassment, profanity, indecent exposure, threats, calls to 911 and noises emanating from his unit," according to the suit, filed in Pinellas County Circuit Court. ...
02/24/15 Real Estate
CLEARWATER — In one of Tampa Bay's biggest hotel deals, the 416-room Hilton Clearwater Beach has been sold to a Kentucky group for $134 million.
That's the largest dollar amount ever for a Pinellas County hotel and is exceeded in the bay area only by the $199 million that Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik paid for the Tampa Marriott Waterside in October.
The steep price for the Hilton reflects its size and its high profile in a county where two resorts are under construction on Clearwater Beach and a new Hyatt hotel is planned for downtown St. Petersburg....
A combination of low mortgage rates and low temperatures in much of the nation helped fire up Tampa Bay's housing market in January.
In Hillsborough County, buyers closed on 969 single-family homes last month, a 6 percent gain over January 2014. In Pinellas, sales shot up 11.9 percent for the best January showing since the Great Recession.
For the entire metro area, which includes Pasco and Hernando counties, home sales rose 9.1 percent. ...
02/20/15 Real Estate
Well into her senior years, JoAnn Charles lived for a spell in her red Hyundai, then slept under canvas in Pinellas Hope's tent city.
But about 18 months ago, Charles saw an ad for a place she could afford on her meager Social Security — a tiny, rusted '50s-era trailer in the Bayside Gardens Mobile Home Park.
"This place is a dump, no sweet way about it,'' she says, but at least she could lock a door behind her, fix her own meals and watch TV....
02/16/15 Real Estate
How hot is Tampa Bay's luxury condo market? Consider this:
In the past five months, prices for individual condos have hit some of the highest levels in years.
In October, a couple paid $1.45 million for their 28th-floor apartment in the downtown Tampa's Towers of Channelside — one of four Tampa sales last year of that amount or more.
In December, a gulf-front condo in the Mandalay Beach Club sold for $3.127 million, the second-highest price in Clearwater Beach in 10 years....
02/15/15 Real Estate
In the past eight months, Tampa Bay has emerged as an exciting place to be in the hospitality business.
Three new hotels opened in Tampa. Two upscale resorts are under construction at Clearwater Beach. A new Hyatt is planned for downtown St. Petersburg.
Yet none of these is a top-rated luxury hotel.
Will the bay area ever get a five-diamond or five-star property?
"I get asked that question so often, it isn't funny,'' said Lou Plasencia, CEO of Tampa's Plasencia Group hospitality sales and consulting firm. "I do think there's enough demand to fill a 125- or 150-room luxury hotel — the challenge is that it becomes very inefficient and very difficult to operate a hotel that small, especially at that price point.''...
02/11/15 Real Estate
Tampa Bay home sales end 2014 on a high note
Year-over-year sales of single-family homes in the Tampa Bay area shot up 22.4 percent in the final quarter of 2014, the third-highest gain of any Florida metro area. In the three months ended in December, 10,683 homes were sold at a median price of $160,000. Sales of townhomes and condos rose nearly 18 percent, with a median price of $111,300. Statewide, sales were up almost 15 percent as the median price rose to $180,000. ...
02/10/15 Real Estate
Tampa Bay led all major U.S. metro areas in completed foreclosures last year as lenders took back nearly 18,400 homes, houses and condos — 5.3 percent more than in 2013.
The bay area, which includes Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, bucked a national trend that saw a decline in completed foreclosures in most parts of the nation, the real estate data tracking service CoreLogic reported Tuesday....
02/09/15 Real Estate
For almost a century, the White House look-alike of a mansion with its magnificent oaks has been a stately presence on the St. Petersburg waterfront.
But now Seven Oaks is about to be bulldozed, making way for the new contemporary-style home of C1 Bank CEO Trevor Burgess.
Burgess and his husband, Gary Hess, paid $1.8 million for the 5,300-square-foot home on Jan. 29 and had scheduled demolition to start Monday. The house won a brief reprieve, though, because of rain....