Construction is about to begin on the Metro, a complex that offers fully furnished studio apartments in St. Petersburg’s Edge District.
DevMar Development, a Michigan-based company, secured a $16.1 million loan to begin construction on the project, according to a media release. Building on 1st Avenue North and 11th Street is expected to start this month with the goal to finish in late 2022 or early 2023, company officials said.
Originally the plan was to build a hotel on the apartment complex site. Developers applied for a permit last March to build a Marriott Tribute hotel, according to city records. The pandemic ultimately forced officials to put the hotel project on hold.
“It decimated the hospitality hotel market and financing completely dried up,” said Mark DeMaria, CEO of DevMar Development.
Two blocks away, the company noticed a trend at one of their other projects.
“By far and away, studio units had tremendous demand,” DeMaria said about Vantage Lofts, an 11-story complex on 16th Street with 211 apartment units, which opened last year. “They were the units that were first absorbed and leased up.”
The Edge District is also a growing neighborhood with boutiques, restaurants, nightlife, and art galleries. It’s walking distance of several museums and Tropicana Field, which is attractive to many renters looking to live in a downtown area.
Studio renters aren’t typically home bodies, DeMaria said. “Their living room is the downtown.”
He called the demand for a smaller living space and walkable downtown amenities a “blessing in disguise.”
The Tampa Bay area is one of the hottest markets in the nation for apartment rentals. The region saw the fastest rise in rent prices of any metro area in the first half of 2021, according to CoStar group, a national real estate data company.
The Metro’s studios start at $1,450 per month and each of the 100 units include all furnishings, including a bed, sofa, coffee table, a wi-fi enabled TV, plus a washer and dryer. It may be the only complex offering fully furnished living spaces.
“For a certain percentage of folks, it makes their life easier,” DeMaria said.
Amenities in the seven-story complex include an outdoor pool with cabanas, hammocks and grills. There’s a game area, dog park and storage for bikes and scooters.
The modern building offers tall ceilings, granite and quartz countertops, and private balconies. There will also be 754 square feet for retail on the first floor.