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New St. Petersburg hotel, apartment tower breaks ground downtown

Ascent St. Petersburg, a $117 million hotel and apartment project, is coming to a lot that’s been empty since 2005.

Ground has broken on a 36-story, $117 million hotel and apartment tower on a long-vacant patch of downtown St. Petersburg.

Early construction on Ascent St. Petersburg began in December at the northwest corner of Second Street N and First Avenue N, next to the Duke Energy headquarters and across from Jannus Live, on a plot that’s sat empty since 2005.

The property sold for nearly $15.1 million on Dec. 18 to a limited liability corporation with the same address as Greystar Real Estate Partners, a Charleston, S.C. apartment developer, manager and investor. Greystar is the largest operator of apartments in the United States, and oversees more than $200 billion in real estate around the world.

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

Construction was approved to begin on Dec. 14, and the project is now in permitting, said Elizabeth Abernethy, the city’s director of planning and development services.

The hotel will be branded as an AC Hotel by Marriott, part of a 10-year-old partnership between Marriott and hotelier Antonio Catalan that emphasizes modern, European-style design and cuisine. It will be the second AC Hotel in Tampa Bay; another sits on Boy Scout Boulevard near International Plaza in Tampa.

Greystar director of development David King said Ascent’s hotel will open in late 2022, with the first apartments coming online in early 2023.

Ascent St. Petersburg will have 354 apartments, 172 hotel rooms and more than 6,700 square feet of retail space. It will also have a four-story parking garage with more than 500 spaces. The building would top out at 357 feet, making it one of the tallest in the city’s skyline.

Ascent St. Petersburg, a 36-story hotel and apartment tower shown in this rendering, is coming to the intersection of First Avenue N and Second Street N in St. Petersburg. Ground was broken in December 2020; the hotel is scheduled to open in late 2022.
Ascent St. Petersburg, a 36-story hotel and apartment tower shown in this rendering, is coming to the intersection of First Avenue N and Second Street N in St. Petersburg. Ground was broken in December 2020; the hotel is scheduled to open in late 2022. [ Greystar Real Estate Partners ]
Related: Name that skyscraper: These are the tallest buildings in the Tampa Bay area

The property was owned by the city until 2004, when it was sold for $3.3 million to a developer who never followed through on his plans for a luxury hotel dubbed the Grand Bohemian. It was sold again for $8.75 million in 2015.

Related: Two vacant lots in the heart of St. Petersburg. Why does one look so much nicer?

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