1. Business

Marriott hotel planned for new downtown St. Pete tower

A 50-story tower planned for the heart of downtown St. Petersburg will also include 325 condos, dining and shops.
New York’s Red Apple Group plans this approximately 50-story mixed used tower on the 400 block of Central Avenue. (courtsy of Arquitectonica
New York’s Red Apple Group plans this approximately 50-story mixed used tower on the 400 block of Central Avenue. (courtsy of Arquitectonica
Published Jan. 30, 2019

TAMPA — A 50-story tower planned for the heart of downtown St. Petersburg will include a Marriott hotel and "outdoor, high-end seating'' similar to that along Beach Drive.

Those were among the details revealed Wednesday by Robert Zorn of New York's Red Apple Group, which plans the mixed-use tower on the 400 block of Central Avenue.

The 200-room hotel will be part of Marriott's Autograph Collection, smaller boutique-like hotels with distinctive styles. Tampa's Epicurean Hotel across from Bern's Steak House is part of the brand.

Zorn said the tower project, which also will have 325 condos and 800 parking spaces, will "feed into the art community'' along Central Avenue and transform a key downtown block that has sat virtually unused for years. The hotel itself will be "pretty spectacular,'' he said, indicating there also would be places to dine and shop.

"The goal is to have a very active street,'' said Zorn, Red Apple's executive vice president, during an Urban Land Institute conference on 2019 real estate trends. "We look to make it a destination block (and) turn this into a central point of the city.''

Founded by billionaire John Catsimatidis, Red Apple is finishing two big real estate projects in New York and decided to build in St. Petersburg after acquiring the block at the "right time and the right place,'' Zorn said. The tower will rise close to both Beach Drive and the city's booming Edge District.

Catsimatidis, a long-time visitor of the area, "said, 'Bob, it's real important you build something I'm proud of, something I'm proud of architecturally. St. Pete's on a roll and I don't want to build a monstrosity that hurts the city,' '' Zorn recalled. "He also said, 'bring me a (return on investment) that makes a lot of money.''

Zorn said the project, designed by the Miami firm Arquitectonica, has a "capital base and backup'' financing.

Like other conference speakers, Zorn was bullish on the Tampa Bay area, which for the first time this year ranks as one of the nation's top 10 real estate markets. "We are extremely confident in this area in the long term,'' he said.

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


  1. A beer is pictured in the outdoor games area of Park & Rec on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 in St. Petersburg. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Towers of Channelside condo association has filed a lawsuit against the bar, as residents complain about noise.
  2. Yacht StarShip, a dining and water taxi company, has added the Lost Pearl pirate ship to its fleet just in time for Gasparilla. [Yacht StarShip]
    After years entertaining tourists in Virginia Beach, the Lost Pearl is settling into its new Tampa Bay home.
  3. Bank OZK CEO and chairman George Gleason, left, and managing director Greg Newman are photographed at the OZK Wynwood branch in Miami on November 13, 2019. [CARL JUSTE | Miami Herald] [Carlt Juste | Miami Herald]
    In fact, Bank OZK has emerged as a powerhouse in commercial lending generally.
  4. Flooding from an October king tide in Miami Shores fills streets, sidewalks and driveways at its peak. [Miami Herald]
    And it could lose up to 35 percent of its value by 2050, according to a new report.
  5. Delta Air Lines said Friday it will launch five new round-trip routes a day between Tampa and Miami starting May 4. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) [MARK LENNIHAN  |  AP]
    Delta says the daily nonstop Miami service will create new connections for Tampa travelers to fly to Latin America and other international destinations.
  6. The Undercroft — the new home to a branch office of TheIncLab, an artificial intelligence firm — provides work space for several cybersecurity companies in one of Ybor City’s most historic structures, the El Pasaje building on E Ninth Avenue. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times [Richard Danielson]
    The Washington, D.C.-area company expects hiring 15 developers and engineers in the next twelve months and partnering with bay area universities to augment its staff with student interns.
  7. FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019, file photo Amazon packages move along a conveyor prior to Amazon robots transporting packages from workers to chutes that are organized by zip code, at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz. Cashless shopping is convenient, but it can be a budget-buster. This year, make it more difficult to spend money online. This could help cut out some of your impulse purchases. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) [ROSS D. FRANKLIN  |  AP]
    Here are some tips to avoid wasting money when you shop.
  8. Lori Baggett, managing partner of Carlton Fields in Tampa. [Carlton Fields]
    The Carlton Fields firm announced her promotion earlier this month.
  9. A new Publix in the Channell district located on the corner of E Twiggs Street and N Meridian Avenue in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times] ["OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Meanwhile in Tampa, the Westshore store could open soon.
  10. The Sears at University Mall near the University of South Florida in Tampa is in the process of being torn down to make way for a new mixed-use development project. [RD Management]
    This is what developers plan for the old Sears stores at University Mall and Citrus Park.