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Church sells downtown St. Pete lot for $6.3 million; mixed-used tower planned

Construction nears for another new tower a few blocks away.
The parking lot for the Christ United Methodist Church is being sold to a developer, who plans a mixed-use building from 18 to 25 stories. [Times 2017]
The parking lot for the Christ United Methodist Church is being sold to a developer, who plans a mixed-use building from 18 to 25 stories. [Times 2017]
Published Dec. 16, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — A lot in downtown St. Petersburg destined for a mixed-used tower has sold for a near- record price per acre while land a few blocks away is being cleared for yet another new apartment building.

In a deal that closed Friday, the DeNunzio Group of Palm Harbor and Cambridge, Mass. paid a total of $6.3 million for a 0.65 acre lot owned by Christ United Methodist Church. The sale of the property at First Avenue N and Fifth Street gives Christ Church a healthy nest egg with which to continue its mission and also will provide badly need public parking.

RELATED: Christ United Methodist selling its parking lot in hot downtown St. Petersburg market

DeNunzio plans a tower of about 25 stories that will include a hotel, 40,000 square feet of Class A office space, 7,000 feet of retail/restaurant space and an undetermined number of residential units, likely rentals, according to Jon Wittner, managing director at KW Commercial Tampa Bay.

The building also will have seven or eight floors of parking. The church is guaranteed use of 120 spaces on Sunday plus 20 spaces every day of the week. Under an agreement with the city, four floors of parking with up to 300 spaces will be designated for public use.

"All the surrounding buildings— the Kress building, the old post office — are historic and have no parking at all except on the street so this is really a strategic spot to have this in the core of downtown,'’ Wittner said.

Construction of the mixed-use tower is "on an accelerated pace by city requirement and could probably start within the next 12 months, he said.

The price of the church property works out to just under $9.7 million per acre — more than what developers paid for the sites of the ONE St. Petersburg condo tower and Hyatt Place hotel on First Avenue N and a 45-story condo tower and hotel proposed for the 400 block of Central Avenue.

The record price for land downtown, $12.215 million per acre, was for a parking lot where a 35-story condo tower is to rise next to the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront on First Street S.

Meanwhile, Miami-based American Land Ventures is knocking down buildings that housed a nightclub and bank between Fourth and Third Streets S and Second and Third Avenues S. The company plans a 23-story, 219-unit apartment tower geared toward affluent baby boomers who no longer want the hassles of home ownership.

RELATED: Proposed St. Pete apartment tower designed for well-heeled baby boomers

That tower, which will be across Fourth Street from two relatively new apartment complexes, the Beacon and the Avanti, is expected to start construction early in the new year.