Atlanta developer Michael Loia specializes in building new residential lofts that look like 1930s warehouses.
Loia, who has built lofts in Georgia's trendy Buckhead district, tells construction workers to leave holes in bricks and masons to make their work look sloppy and old.
Now he has set his sights on Tampa.
If the City Council approves his request for a zoning variance, he plans to erect a 39,000-square-foot residential building on a vacant lot at 210 N 12th St.
"I'm not interested in doing a contemporary project," said Loia, president of Loia Budde & Associates, an Atlanta architectural firm. "I'm interested in keeping the warm character of the brick and warm floors. I think that distinguishes me."
Loia and his business partners presented their initial design drawings to the Channel District Council on Tuesday night. The six-story building would house 28 to 30 lofts ranging from 1,000 to 1,600 square feet. One-bedroom to three-bedroom units would cost from $300,000 to the mid $400,000s, the developer said. The builders also expect to sell 2,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor. Fifty-six parking spaces would occupy the building's first two floors.
Loia and his partners expect to begin construction in May and complete the project in nine to 11 months. They sought the neighborhood's approval Tuesday night because their design calls for building 12 feet above the neighborhood's 60-foot height limit. The Channel District Council's executive board will vote on the project in the coming weeks.
"I'm pretty sure that we'll vote to support this one because it's one of the smaller ones," said Kim Markham, editor of the Channel District newsletter. "This is a no-brainer. It's a small building built by an experienced developer, a quality project."
Still, Markham said the group, which has voted to approve much larger structures, may ask for some concessions from the developers. She did not indicate what they might be.
Loia, who bought the property three months ago, is scouting additional sites in the Channel District.
"I just like that area," said Loia, who is already fielding calls from potential buyers for the 12th Street site. "I think it's got a great future."
Sherri Day can be reached at 226-3405 or sdaysptimes.com.