Workers haven’t yet put their shovels in the ground on the mega-tower at 400 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg, but wealthy future residents are already writing five-figure checks to reserve their spots in the luxury condominium.
Red Apple Real Estate announced Wednesday that units are available for purchase, with private appointments for buyers available at the sales gallery just across from the fenced two acres of grass slated for the tower, called The Residences at 400 Central.
Pre-construction pricing starts at $800,000, according to a news release. But the ceiling is likely much higher, with floor plans ranging from one to four bedrooms as well as “a selection of custom penthouse homes.” The cost to reserve a condo is $25,000, the company said.
At 515 feet, the downtown, 46-story building will be the tallest in St. Petersburg, and, according to Red Apple founder John Catsimatidis Sr., the tallest on Florida’s west coast.
Ahead of the announcement, priority VIPs got early access to reservations, which the billionaire New Yorker Catsimatidis said indicated already that demand is going to be high.
“It’s double beyond exceeding expectations,” he said in a phone interview with the Tampa Bay Times, during which he dropped another piece of news: “That doesn’t count me announcing at the groundbreaking that I’m buying the penthouse.”
Forbes estimates Catsimatidis has a net worth of $3.7 billion. He’s accumulated his wealth over time, beginning with a chain of supermarkets he bought in New York City and now includes Red Apple’s long list of investments such as oil refining, finance, convenience stores and real estate. Red Apple Real Estate is the developer of the Residences at 400 Central, and purchased the land for $16.5 million in 2017.
The 301-condo tower was designed by international architecture firm Arquitectonica, which is based in Miami, and will feature “spacious floor plans with high-end interior finishes” and “wrap around balconies,” according to the news release. It will also have an observation deck on the 46th floor with views from Tampa Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, a fitness center, upscale lounge, co-working space, boardroom, theater room, plus a 7th-floor amenities deck with a pool and spa, putting green, bocce court, outdoor kitchen, dog walking area and fire pit.
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Catsimatidis said he wants his kids to be able to have the penthouse, though he declined to say whether the purchase means he’s becoming a full-time Floridian. He did not say how much he’s paying for the unit.
He has longtime ties to St. Petersburg as the place where his wife’s mother and stepfather moved from the Midwest nearly 40 years ago, he said, and is optimistic about the future of the city, thanks to the influx of northerners fleeing higher taxes.
“The joke in New York that we tell at the dinner table ... is Vladimir Putin would give us a better deal,” he said. “We all have a good laugh over it, but unfortunately, it’s true.”
Although Catsimatidis is involved in New York politics and has been a vocal backer of former president Donald Trump, he’s staying out of St. Petersburg politics for now. When asked if he had a preferred candidate to win the mayor’s race, he demurred, saying just that he’s in favor of “common sense politicians.”
The migration of New Yorkers to St. Petersburg has potential benefits for 400 Central. Prospective condo owners from New York know his history of delivering projects at a “highly competent level,” Catsimatidis said.
The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 18. The tower is estimated to be completed in 2025.