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Developer plans condo project in downtown St. Petersburg

JMC Communities expects to begin construction on Rowland Place at 146 Fourth Ave. NE in the fall.
JMC Communities expects to begin construction on Rowland Place at 146 Fourth Ave. NE in the fall.
Published May 3, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG — The developer of downtown mega-tower Ovation has a subtler new plan in the works, a six-story condo project called Rowland Place built off the bustle of Beach Drive.

The mid-rise is planned to hold 20 condos sized between 1,700 and 2,200 square feet, said JMC Communities CEO Mike Cheezem.

Far from Ovation's multimillion-dollar price tags, each condo will sell for between $500,000 and $800,000.

Developers expect to start sales next month, and financing plans are in place, Cheezem said. Construction, expected to begin in the fall, should last about a year.

Planners expect the condos will attract buyers flocking from Snell Isle, the beaches or the Old Northeast, largely empty nesters looking to downsize into somewhere walkable, vibrant and fresh.

"Downtown St. Pete is just going to continue to become a better and better place to live," said Cheezem, whose firm also built Clearwater Beach's Sandpearl Resort. "I've no doubt the demand will continue. It's just a matter of identifying where the need is."

The condos will be built on half an acre at 146 Fourth Ave. NE, between the gallery of artist P. Buckley Moss and a bed-and-breakfast, the Watergarden Inn at the Bay. A 1920s bungalow now on the condo site will be moved and remodeled.

Parts of Rowland Place's rooftop terrace and upper floors may be able to see North Straub Park and the waterfront beyond, though much of its eastern views will face the newly renovated Birchwood Inn.

Renderings show the building will be modeled in the beaux-arts style, similar to that of the historic Kress Building, on Fifth Street and Central Avenue.

The project will be named after E.B. Rowland, a prominent St. Petersburg real estate broker at the turn of the 20th century who a 1913 Evening Independent story called "one of the pioneer business men of the Sunshine City." With most luxury condos built during the boom long sold, developers have begun again to break ground on posh condos downtown.

Across Fourth Avenue from Rowland Place, developers are now taking reservations for the 14-story Silhouette high-rise, where two- and three-bedroom condos will sell for more than $700,000.

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or dharwell@tampabay.com.

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