Many people might not be willing to commit to buying a house before seeing it — much less a multi-million-dollar condo. But that is exactly what some buyers may be doing soon, with Tampa’s future Ritz-Carlton Residences on Bayshore Boulevard.
Already, 35 prospective buyers have submitted letters of interest based solely on renderings and the reputations of Ritz-Carlton and the developer, Related Group, said Related president Jon Paul Pérez. He said he’s confident that many of those 35 will formally commit to purchasing units, even though the sales gallery won’t be completed for another few months. The project is expected to break ground late this year.
“We haven’t even released marketing material. There’s been really no whisper campaign. This has been all word-of-mouth that the local community has heard about the project,” Pérez said. “We have a sign there that shows what the building will look like, and they know it’s going to be a Ritz.”
Units will range in price from about $1.7 million to just under $5.2 million. Related has said the project will be the first five-star residence in the area. It’s the type of building that Related has built elsewhere — including in Miami and Latin America — but is its first in Tampa Bay.
The company will launch sales to the public on March 22 for the first tower, which will have 89 units.
When completed, the Ritz-Carlton project will include two 27-story towers of condos, plus 12 luxury townhomes, all of which will be managed by the luxury hotel company. The Tampa City Council granted final approval to the plan last fall.
Proponents of the project have said that the Ritz-Carlton brand will increase Tampa’s visibility as an international destination city.
“Having the Ritz Carlton Brand come to Tampa is an acknowledgement of our hard work over the years to make Tampa Bay a great location,” said Bob Rohrlack, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Chamber in a statement Thursday. He added that the property will be an “enhancement to the entire Tampa Bay community.”
Already, there’s someone interested in the penthouse, who’s flying into Miami, and Related representatives are taking him out to lunch, Pérez said.
In addition to this development, Related Group is leading the roughly $350 million project to redevelop Tampa’s West River area, largely on the site of the now-demolished North Boulevard Homes public housing project. As part of that effort, the company is building affordable and public housing units, plus market-rate properties, and adding a grocery store to an area that’s a food desert.
These efforts are proof of the company’s commitment to the communities where it builds, Pérez said.
Residents of Bay Oaks Apartments, which sits on the site of the future Ritz-Carlton development, have said the demolition of their complex will leave them without an equivalently affordable place to live in their area.
Pérez said Related is replacing many more affordable units than it’s removing with Bay Oaks, referencing the thousands of apartments, both affordable and public, planned for West River. Those projects include the completed rehabilitation of the 150-unit Mary Bethune High Rise Apartments, as well as the Boulevard Towers, which Pérez estimated would be finished within six months.
“The high-end multifamily or condo (building) is definitely more sexy — it gets more of the attention — but I actually think it makes you feel better when you go and you see a new affordable housing project that you’ve finished, and you see the tenants and how happy they are,” he added.
Related Group is no stranger to Tampa. In the past decade, it has built apartments in Channelside, Westshore Marina District and on the site of the old Tampa Tribune, as well as ICON Central in St. Petersburg and ICON Harbour Island.
Pérez said that Related considers Tampa its “second headquarters,” and the company will continue to add staff here.
“I think it’s a place that will continue to see rapid growth,” he said. “We’re looking at every single site up and down Bayshore — every waterfront site, we have our eye on.”