1. Business

$117 million apartment tower and hotel planned for downtown St. Petersburg

A rendering of Ascent St. Petersburg, a 36-story apartment tower with adjacent hotel in downtown St. Petersburg. (Courtesy of Greystar)
Published Jul. 18

ST. PETERSBURG — A hotel and 36-story apartment tower could one day rise on a long-vacant lot in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg.

Greystar Real Estate Partners has submitted plans for a $117-million project called Ascent St. Petersburg at First Avenue N and Second Street next to Duke Energy's Florida headquarters and across from Jannus Live. The tower would have 354 rental units and sit next to a 172-room hotel. Space for offices, stores and possibly a restaurant would be included.

Based in Charleston, S.C., Greystar is the nation's largest apartment manager and developer. Its scores of projects include the 33-story Ascent Uptown in Charlotte, N.C. and the 22-story Ascent Midtown in Atlanta.

Except for the hotel, Greystar's plans are similar to those for an apartment tower proposed by developer David Mack several years ago. His company still owns the land, records show, and its name appears on the application. Neither he nor Greystar returnede calls for comment.

Elizabeth Abernethy, St. Petersburg's director of planning and development services, said Thursday that the project is being processed as a "streamline'' case, meaning city staffers will approve the site plan if no appeals are filed before the July 29th deadline

READ MORE: 17 projects, $500 million set to transform St. Pete's skyline

Greystar's involvement indicates that change might finally be coming to what has been one of the most valuable but star-crossed pieces of land in downtown St. Petersburg.

In 2004, the city sold the land for $3.3 million to Richard Kessler, who had helped found the Days Inn chain before moving into the boutique hotel business. He revealed plans for a 28-story hotel, the Grand Bohemian, that would be "the first true luxury hotel in Tampa-St. Petersburg'' with amenities like an art gallery and full-service spa. But as the economy slumped Kessler repeatedly put off construction. In 2013, the city agreed he could sell the land to an Atlanta developer.

That deal also fell through and in 2015, Mack and his equity partners bought the land for $8.75 million. He announced plans that year for a 35-story, 306-unit tower but the site remained a weedy, empty eyesore in the midst of a booming downtown. In recent days, though, it has been tidied up, suggesting that something might finally be happening there.

READ MORE: REAL ESTATE Two vacant lots in the 'heart' of St. Petersburg. Why does one look so much nicer?

Greystar's plans calls for four levels of parking above the ground floor, lined by hotel guest rooms along Second Street N. The sixth-level podium would have a deck with amenities including a pool and fitness center. At 357 feet, the apartment tower would be among the taller buildings in St. Petersburg.

The plans do not say whether the hotel would be a branded property. A Hyatt Place hotel opened in late 2017 a block to the east, and a New York developer plans a Marriott-managed hotel next to a proposed condo tower a few blocks to the west.

READ MORE: New York developer scaling back height of downtown St. Pete condo tower

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.


  1. Ken Jones, CEO of Third Lake Capital, has sold WingHouse for $18 million to a Jacksonville restaurant company. [Times 2016]
    Tampa’s Third Like Capital now major shareholder in restaurant’s new owners.
  2. The Don CeSar Hotel is caught up in a lawsuit over liquid nitrogen being served and causing injuries at its restaurant. [Times (2011)]
    They say the other side has made inflammatory and misleading statements to the media.
  3. This Mobil Coast gas station at 16055 State Road 52 in Land O Lakes is one of 10 cited in a Florida Department of Environmental Protection lawsuit where inspectors said they found lapses in regularly required tests, maintenance, documentation or other oversight by Brandon-based Automated Petroleum and Energy or its related companies. On Wednesday, the company said the station had already been put back in compliance with state regulations. (Photo via Google street view) Google street view
    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection contends Automated Petroleum and Energy Company failed to do required maintenance or testing at 10 gas stations in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.
  4. FILE - In this July 31, 2019, file photo workers clean the outside facade of State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. On Wednesday, Oct. 16, the Federal Reserve releases its latest ‘Beige Book’ survey of economic conditions. ROSS D. FRANKLIN  |  AP
    “Persistent trade tensions and slower global growth” were weighing on the economy, the Federal Reserve reported.
  5. A South Florida developer plans a condo tower on the parking lot between the Northern Trust building, left, and the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront. SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN  |  Susan Taylor Martin
    South Florida company plans a 35-story tower next to a Hilton hotel.
  6. Tech Data's headquarters in Clearwater. The company is one of the largest in the Tampa Bay area. TD AGENCY  |  Courtesy of Tech Data
    The Largo company’s stock price soared Wednesday following the report, which the news service based on information from “people familiar with the matter.”
  7. Earlier today• Business
    Col. Jennifer Crossman smiles as Boomer, a 5-year-old dog, sits in the passenger seat of her car during the firefighter challenge at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. [Times (2016)] Tampa Bay Times
    Uber customers can now be connected with willing animal chauffeurs — for a fee.
  8. An image from the web site of Realtor Michael Schaffer's real estate company. [Realty Resources] WWW.TAMPABAYHOMEREALTOR.COM/TEAM  |  Screen grab
    Michael Schaffer still has active listings
  9. Duke Energy Co. workers are competing in a line worker competition in Kansas this week. | [Courtesy of Duke Energy Florida] Duke Energy Florida
    Four Duke Energy Florida competitors are from Tampa Bay, as well as two coaches.
  10. Alexandra Toigo, 32 and Sabrina Pourghassem, 23, pose for a photo at Hofbrauhaus St. Petersburg holding their signature beer mugs during Oktoberfest 2018. "LUIS SANTANA  |  TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The beer hall’s property owners filed a lawsuit saying the restaurant missed its rent starting in August.