1. Business

Developer plans townhomes near marina in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Another failed development project that never got beyond the paper stage is rising out of the recession with new owners, a new name and a new site plan.

An Arizona-based home builder plans to build 158 two-story townhomes next to Loggerhead Marina, formerly Huber Marina, in the Pinellas Point area. Construction on the development, named the Cove at Loggerhead Marina, could begin by the end of the year with model homes open by mid-2013.

Developer Taylor Morrison, one of the largest privately owned home builders in the country, is not ready to release prices or many details on the project, said Katy Walker, marketing manager for the company's West Florida division.

Considering the homes are going up on a sliver of land between a conservation area and a marina offering fast access to Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico via Frenchman's Creek, they should fetch a handsome price.

Seven years ago, another developer proposed building three condo towers up to 18 stories high with 173 homes. At one time the site was slated for an "aquaplex" with homes that would include water garages beneath them.

Taylor Morrison will close on the property soon, Walker said. Current owner, Jupiter-based Loggerhead Marina, bought the site in 2008 for $16 million from previous owner Aquaplex Ventures.

It will retain ownership of the marina, said Rick MacAulay, manager of urban planning for the city. Loggerhead recently applied for and was granted a zoning change and an easement to allow a row of townhomes to be built on 60 feet of conservation property that it owns.

"It did not increase the density," MacAulay said, adding that the new site plan is more compatible with neighboring apartment complexes and single-family homes than the Aquaplex plan that called for three high-rises.

A road will also be built between 31st Street S and the marina to allow access to the townhomes. The gated community will have a swimming pool, fitness center, gathering room and tiki bar. Homeowners will be able to lease wet and dry boat storage from the marina at preferred rates.

Katherine Snow Smith can be contacted at (727) 893-8785 or