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Hard hats mingled with suits downtown

Condos sprang up and old hotels were dusted off downtown. Development also continued elsewhere.

BayWalk wasn't the city's only development or renovation project in 2000.

Cranes and construction crews were particularly prolific downtown. Here are some of the highlights:

The Florencia, a 21-story luxury condominium with 50 units, opened. Prices ranged from $434,000 to $2-million. Most of the condos are sold.

Construction continued on Vinoy Place, another luxury condominium and city home project. Many of the 32 units in the first two phases are sold. Prices averaged $600,000 to $700,000, topping out at $2-million.

(The third of St. Petersburg's three luxury condominium buildings, the Cloisters, opened in 1999.)

An Orlando developer plans two buildings of luxury rental units on two blocks of downtown property south of Central Avenue.

The Detroit Hotel is being renovated into 24 rental apartments.

A new, three-story office building near the Florencia condominiums will include room for retail shops on the ground floor.

Several of the city's older hotels have been or are being revamped, including the Pennsylvania, Pier (formerly Cordova) and Bay Park Arms (formerly McCarthy).

Craig Sher, president and chief executive officer of the Sembler Co., one of the developers of BayWalk, said his company continues to work toward putting a major supermarket downtown. Speculation is that it would be on the Dew Cadillac site. Neither Sher nor the owner of Dew Cadillac would comment directly.

Development also continued outside downtown.

In Carillon office park in the Gateway area to the north, Franklin Templeton doubled its space with an eight-story addition in August. Catalina Marketing Corp., which moved into its headquarters building at Carillon in 1999, is planning to add another building next door.

Echelon Development, developer of Carillon, is negotiating to bring a hotel to the site and has an unidentified prospect interested in another office building.

Just outside the Challenge area on 34th Street S, Ceridian Benefits Services spent $28.5-million renovating the old Florida Power headquarters into a business campus. It began adding residents of the area to its work force even before it moved in in June.