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Bayway Lofts' new look

(Ran East, South editions)

Developer Grady Pridgen said his ability to buy more land at the Bayway Lofts site prompted the complete overhaul of the project's design.

Bayway Lofts has morphed from the tallest building in the city, with points of interest like a rooftop restaurant and an exterior elevator, to four lower buildings of glass that look like a moving sail.

The latest design will get its first review before city development officials in April. It actually is the third look at the project.

Initial plans from 2003 called for a 510-foot tower with 42 stories that drew concern from city officials and complaints from neighbors. The project is on Third Avenue N between Second and Third streets and will replace several older houses. One of its closest neighbors is the Huntington Townhomes, which are three stories high.

The second design, introduced in 2004, included a lower tower, 371 feet with 29 stories. It had 350 units instead of the original 277. During this time, Pridgen was trying to amass a complete half-block for Bayway Lofts.

"We finally have done that," Pridgen said Friday. "That gave us the flexibility to be more creative. We were able to take the large monolith and break it into four pieces."

The latest design shows four buildings on a parking podium. The tallest towers will be on the northwest and southeast corners and rise 34 stories. The height remains at 371 feet for the towers, which will contain residential units. The other two buildings are lower. One will be a hotel-condominium with 80 rooms, and the other will be more residences. Plans say that if the hotel element is not feasible, that building will be turned into residential units. The total number of residences remains at 350.

The ground level will have retail space and restaurants and a lobby for the hotel if it is part of the project. Seven levels of parking will have 898 spaces. There also will be an amenity floor for residents.

As the design changed, so did the price of the project, rising from $50-million to $100-million to $150-million for the newest design.

Pridgen said no prices were set on the units yet. If he wins approval from the city, the project will go into three months of design where specifics like prices and unit sizes will be set.

In addition to opposing the initial height, neighbors complained that they would be looking out their windows at multiple stories of parking. In the new design, parking floors will be clad in decorative glass.

Another condo tower planned for downtown is Signature Place, which is a wavy triangle of glass and metal. It is being built by Joel Cantor of Gulf Atlantic Real Estate.

Asked if Bayway would be similar to Signature, Pridgen said no because Bayway has four buildings.

"Both have a modern, sleeker look," he said.

Many condo towers built in downtown St. Petersburg in the past eight years have in the Mediterranean Revival style.

Pridgen said construction could start in the first quarter of next year. Bayway Lofts would take 32 months to complete.