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Downtown St. Petersburg condo tower penthouse sells for a record $6.9 million cash

The top-floor penthouse of the Ovation condos in downtown St. Petersburg has sold for a record $6.9 million in cash. Photo courtesy of the Malowany Group.
The top-floor penthouse of the Ovation condos in downtown St. Petersburg has sold for a record $6.9 million in cash. Photo courtesy of the Malowany Group.
Published May 24, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG — The top-floor penthouse of Ovation, a luxury condo tower on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg, has sold for a record $6.9 million.

The all-cash transaction, which closed Friday, was the highest-priced condo sale in Tampa Bay history and the highest-priced bay area residential sale so far this year, according to agents Frank and Rebecca Malowany of Smith & Associates.

The Malowanys represented both the seller and the buyer, Lloyd J. Thornburg, founder of an internationally known yacht racing team who is also a director of a New Mexico-based foundation.

"He made some friends here and basically the lure was the same lure as for everybody; he loved St. Pete,'' Frank Malowany said Monday.

Thornburg, who is in his mid 30s, visited the area several times, looking at single-family homes as well as condos in other downtown towers including Parkshore Plaza, 400 Beach Drive and the Vinoy. He also looked at another penthouse in Ovation — there are four — but settled on the top-floor unit.

"I think for people in a position where they are going to make an investment in St. Pete, they want something special, and this is very special,'' Malowany said.

The 5,330-square-foot penthouse takes up the entire 28th floor and has 360-degree views from Tampa Bay to the beaches. In addition to three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, it includes two offices, a "grand gallery,'' a "marble-clad'' chef's kitchen, full-service bar, multiple balconies and a four-car private garage.

The sale was an off-market transaction that did not appear in the Multiple Listing Service until after the deal closed.

The seller wanted privacy "and knew that we have a lot of high-net-worth buyers,'' Rebecca Malowany said Monday. "So we put the seller together with a high-net-worth buyer.''

Thornburg is a director of Santa Fe's Thornburg Foundation, whose website says it promotes K-12 education programs, food and agricultural research and good-government reforms. It is the philanthropic arm of Thornburg Investment Management, which manages several equity mutual funds and 11 fixed-income funds for individual and institutional investors.

Thornburg founded Team Phaedo, a yacht racing team that competes internationally with a 66-foot Gunboat catamaran and a MOD 70 trimaran, according to his director's profile. Last year the team set four sailing world records, three in one week.

The penthouse first sold in 2005 for $4.75 million, then resold in 2010 for $4.55 million to Michael W. Schmidt, owner of a telecommunications company at the same address.

Ovation, which has 45 "estate-style'' units, has had some of the highest-priced sales of any condo tower on the coveted downtown waterfront. The top-floor penthouse is the fifth Tampa Bay residential property to sell for more than $5 million so far this year, compared with none last year.

The Malowanys, who specialize in high-end properties, sold a Belleair mansion for $10.25 million in 2008, still the top price paid for a single-family home in the Tampa Bay area.

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