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Downtown St. Petersburg condo sells for $6.849 million, second-highest sale for a Tampa Bay condo

The Ovation condo tower on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg [ SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times ]
The Ovation condo tower on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg [ SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times ]
Published Jun. 4, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — A penthouse in the Ovation condo tower in downtown St. Petersburg has sold for $6.849 million, making it Tampa Bay's second-most expensive condo ever.

The price was $51,000 less than the record sale of $6.9 million, paid in May 2016 for the penthouse directly above it in Ovation at 180 Beach Drive NE.

The 5,330-square-foot condo, sold Friday, has three balconies including one off the kitchen with an electric grill and sunset views. The formal living and dining rooms feature crystal chandeliers, crown molding and a wet bar for entertaining. The unit comes with its own three-car garage plus an assigned parking space for guests.

A deed recorded Monday shows the buyer is Amor Fati, LLC, a Florida limited liability company with a Bannockburn, Illinois, mailing address. The manager is listed as Philip E. Ruben, a lawyer who has represented software companies in dealing with license agreement and other issues. Ruben, who also served as CFO of a biotech company, did not return a call for comment. (Amor Fati is Latin for "love of fate'' or "love of one's fate.")

The two Ovation penthouses are luxurious even by the standards of New York City, where "luxury'' is defined as any residential property above $5.8 million, according to a recent New York Times story.

With 360-degree views, the penthouses are among only a few in downtown St. Petersburg that take up an entire floor.

"They're very unique properties and they don't come on the market all that often,'' said Liz Heinkel, the listing agent. "There are very few people that can afford this price point, so they grab them pretty quickly.''

The condo went under contract just a month after it was listed March 5, a fast time for such an expensive unit. The original asking price was $7.5 million, later reduced to $6.95 million. The sellers paid $4.1 million for it eight years ago.

In the past six months, 151 condos in the downtown area have sold for $1 million or more. All but 22 of the sales were for condos in the recently completed ONE St. Petersburg, which at 41 stories is the tallest residential building on Florida's west coast.

What's up with the sizes and prices of condos in ONE St. Petersburg?

Currently, 17 downtown condos are on the market for at least $1 million. Seven of those are in ONE St. Petersburg as original buyers try to flip them. One seller who bought a unit for $684,900 is asking $1.4 million, a 104 percent markup.

Heinkel described the downtown market as "strong and consistent.''

"I don't like to use the term 'hot,' '' she said, "because it depends on the unit. If it takes a lot of work, that takes longer to sell because we're in an era where buyers want move-in ready. If a unit has been redone or tastefully done, they do sell fairly quickly. But it does slow down in summer because not as many buyers are here."

Tampa Bay's condo market has a long way to go before it catches up with Manhattan's — one penthouse along "Billionaire's Row'' south of Central Park sold for $238 million last year while another unit is currently available for $85 million. Included in the price: two Rolls Royces, a Lamborghini and, if the city gets too hot and crowded, the use of a house in the Hamptons for one summer.

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

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