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Just a little diagram I drew and update regularly. Sorry about the black background - haven't figured that out yet. Also, sorry it is a bit blurry, that is an aberration but there it is. Feel free to post Channelside updates.


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Loft Construction Won't Cool During Hot Summer Months

By JANIS D. FROELICH [email protected]

Published: Jun 20, 2004

TAMPA - Instead of taking a summer break from Channel District loft activity because of road construction, developers are proceeding as planned.

Bill Ware has finalized design plans for his Ventana development. The Place at Channelside is set to open its Discovery Center today. The Towers of Channelside has 250 reservations for its 260 planned units. Grand Central at Kennedy is offering a mixed- use, 370-unit condominium development, and plans to open a sales center at the end of June. And Victory Lofts plans to complete its 89 units by December.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plans to take down the Kennedy Boulevard viaduct in 30 days, spokeswoman Perry Dawn Brown said.

The viaduct, an eyesore in the middle of this booming residential growth, is being removed, Brown said, to make way for a landscaped, six-lane highway that will bring one- way traffic to and from Brandon.

The Meridian Street Gateway will mean the Channel District will become the grand entrance to downtown Tampa, developers say.

``I think that's been a big selling point,'' said Richard Sacchi, president of the Towers of Channelside. ``Our buyers want to be where the action is.''

Sacchi said construction should begin on the twin 30- story towers in January or February.

``We sold 250 units in 13 days,'' he said, noting the project is opposite the Channelside entertainment/restaurant complex.

The Towers of Channelside also will include five retail spaces, four of which are sold. These will bring a coffee shop, dry cleaners, fitness center, deli and a sushi place to the area.

``We wanted neighborhood retail, not something competing with Channelside,'' Sacchi said.

The 84 units at Ventana also will enjoy a key location at 1112 Channelside Drive at the north corner of Kennedy Boulevard, opposite a streetcar stop.

``About 60 percent of the project will be glass so owners will have lots of open space and windows to enjoy the views,'' Ware said.

A fourth-floor terrace level, where units surround the swimming pool, will feature private patios.

``People can actually live out there,'' Ware said. ``It will be big enough for a table and four chairs.''

Ware plans a sales center for Ventana, which means windows in Spanish, in September, and expects to begin construction next year.

Developer Fida H. Sirdar has renovated one of the warehouses on his 2.2 acres between 12th Street and Channelside Drive to showcase The Place at Channelside.

The sales center will offer 256 units to be built around a courtyard. Residents will also enjoy a pet park on the fifth level. On the street level, plans are in the works for retail and art galleries.

Grand Central at Kennedy is finishing a two-bedroom model near the Kennedy viaduct. The project will include retail stores, office space, an art gallery and community theater, Mercury Advisors developer Ken Stoltenberg announced recently.

Victory Lofts has four penthouses left, said Nick Pavonetti, who is overseeing The Beck Group's two-building project. The four-story Model T building is a renovation of an old structure, and the seven-story Victory Building is new. Both are located at the corner of 12th and Whiting streets.

Pavonetti said one of the penthouses will be kept to serve as a model unit for a future residential project in downtown Tampa or the Channel District.

``We couldn't be more pleased with this project,'' he said.

Reporter Janis D. Froelich can be reached at (813) 259-7143.


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Hate to disappoint you, but not that much has come out of the ground, though there is a lot on the cusp of getting going. The main things are Victory Lofts and Meridian Street (which really changes a lot) There have also been a numbero f demos in preparation. In any event, take a look and imagine.

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Yeah, I just drove over there a few weeks ago expecting to see more construction. I was a bit disappointed that more hadn't started, but it is nice to imagine what it will be in, say, 5 years. I must note that the infrastructure there is horrible. I'm glad it has been approved, or on its way to approval, as a CRA.

3 sets of twins in close proximity to each other...that should look interesting.

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Well, yes, the roads suck, but they are going to work on that and the Towers are almost assuredly a go given that they have like 6 of the 260 units left to be resrved (I know, contracts are different, but what enthusiasm for something that wasn't even advertised) The Meridian had an issue with increased construction costs but according to the website is beyond % sales needed for construction - I think the Victory Lofts is using the MEridian land for staging so you have to wait a little longer for it to go. I also think that when the Meridian Street rebuild is done, people will see that Channelside really is part of downtown and it will get even more happeneing.

BTW, the Pinnacle Place condos are in reservations mode, though I have no idea how they are doing. It has been at least a month since they started.

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The road work goes on. Apparently the mill is staying for now, but you can clearly see the road - if you go on Twiggs you get a better idea of how it will be. The "viaduct" on Kennedy is coming down soon as well.

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Is it ever going to be possible for Ybor to connect to the Channelside district? I think Ybor is Tampa's best neighborhood, it would be awesome to get more residnetial down there to get it a more "french quarter" feel, ya know? Anyone know of any Ybor construction?

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there are actually quite a few residential projects going in Ybor, many with retail and commercial elements. Most are small, only two and three stories, with anywhere from 6 to 32 units in them. There is one on the drawling board that is five stories and has a restaurant.

All the developments are south of seventh ave. I have No doubt that in the near future(5 to 10 years) Ybor and Channelside will be connected.

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THere are a number of plans and rumored plans that involve the areas where Adamo turns south onto Channelside. If and when they get built, with the streetcar runnig through there, there will be a connection of sorts, but there will still be the odd intersection of Channelside and the Nuccio Parkway with the bad pink apartments sitting there. That needs to be fixed for true connection.

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Urban Appeal Pays Off For Channel District

By JANIS D. FROELICH [email protected]

Published: Jul 8, 2004

TAMPA - Channel District developer Doug Weber was thrilled to hear that nearly all 260 units at The Towers at Channelside have been reserved.

Weber's Seaport Town Center won't break ground until next year, and his 200-plus units mostly will be rentals. But he thinks the more success other developers have in the area, the better his chances to charge upscale rent, close to what neighboring Harbour Island gets.

``These pre-sales are important,'' he said of the 12 projects in various stages of development in the Channel District. ``They offer a real glimpse of what the market dictates as far as sale and rental prices.''

Weber said The Towers hit its price point, with most units selling for $275,000 to $375,000 in the twin towers to be built across from the Channelside complex.

``Now they're probably wishing they had charged more,'' he said.

When the Channel District residential community was envisioned, the idea was to have austere lofts in a funky neighborhood across from the Port of Tampa cruise terminals.

Prices announced less than two years ago were starting at $155,000 in Channelside 212 Lofts on 12th Street, and $150,000 in Victory Lofts at 12th and Whiting streets.

Some units from other developers are less than $250,000, but most of them are efficiencies or one-bedroom units.

Now the emphasis is on larger, more expensive units with loads of amenities, such as concierge services and terrace pools with spa areas.

``In the initial stage, we all thought the Channel District would be more lower priced than most of South Tampa,'' said Tampa's urban planning manager, Wilson Stair. ``But this area has taken off on a life of its own.''

Stair, a city staff member for 15 years, said he has never seen anything like the explosion in Channel District residential property.

``The prices might eventually readjust because of the growing competition,'' he said. ``But I'm as surprised as anyone that people in the upper economic bracket want to live there.''

Stair said the reason may be that Harbour Island is built out. Also, he said, the stigma of urban living has faded.

``The Channel District just isn't any urban area, too. It's interesting there with the mix of port industry, The Florida Aquarium and the Times Forum,'' he said.

Nick Pavonetti, who is overseeing The Beck Group's Victory Lofts project, said ``the people who bought early made a very good investment.''

Of its 89 units, Victory has four penthouses remaining, priced at about $850,000.

``The prices were bound to go up,'' said Bill Ware, who is building an 84-unit project, called Ventana, at Kennedy Boulevard and Channelside Drive. Prices start in the mid- $200,000s.

Ware said buyers also are demanding more. He plans 24- hour concierge service, a terrace pool area with fitness room, two parking spaces per unit, storage lockers and verandas.

``That's why I've been so careful not to prematurely come out with a list of prices set in stone,'' Ware said. ``A lot will also depend on building costs and whether they continue to climb.''

Truett Gardner, developer of the Meridian at Whiting and 12th streets, made the mistake of setting prices too soon.

The Meridian's 35 units were priced from $200,000 to $450,000. After building costs went up, Gardner had to cancel contracts. Prices have climbed to $245,000 to $500,000, and he has been able to add two more units.

The Tampa lawyer since has sold 21 units in the art deco building and plans to finish construction by next year.

``It was funny with us, but the higher-end units went first,'' he said.

Brooks Byrd, vice president of Byrd Corp., said the company never planned to sell for less than $200,000 at the Downtown Channelside complex next to Channelside. The 250 units in two 30-story towers with shops and restaurants will range from 1,500 to 4,000 square feet.

``We're on the water so this is premium real estate,'' Byrd said.

Because of rising building costs, he is careful in quoting prices. ``We'll do more detailed design drawings,'' he said.

Byrd said he hopes to put a sales center on the property late this fall and to begin construction early next year.

Byrd, whose family built the GrandView in Harbour Island, said he is excited to begin building on the 1.8-acre parking lot.

``I read the study from the Downtown Tampa Partnership about the pent-up demand for downtown housing,'' Byrd said. ``You never know what to believe of these studies. But this one sounds true.''

Reporter Janis D. Froelich can be reached at (813) 259-7143.


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Just keeps on rocking

Model Building

By JANIS D. FROELICH [email protected]

Published: Jul 8, 2004

TAMPA - Developer Fida Sirdar was asked by a friend what he planned to do with the junky warehouse he bought as part of his 2.2 acres in the Channel District.

``I told him he hasn't been by lately,'' said Sirdar, who has transformed the property between Channelside Drive and 12th Street into a Discovery Center.

Sirdar is using the remodeled warehouse at 918 Channelside Drive as a sales center for his development, The Place.

In addition to a full-scale, two-bedroom model, there are bright blue and yellow sales rooms and wall displays of floor plans and color patterns for floors and counter tops. Plus, there is a large architectural model of The Place. Sirdar even has invested in landscaping.

Sirdar plans to bulldoze the warehouse by year's end when construction starts for The Place.

A few blocks over, Ken Stoltenberg has launched his Grand Central at Kennedy project in style. Although the sales office and model condominium are housed in a sizable portable at 1208 E. Kennedy Blvd., a visitor would be able to more than just visualize a new home. The Viking stainless steel appliance kitchen, complete with washer and dryer under the granite island counter, is in place.

``Everything you see here is what you get,'' Stoltenberg said of his 370-unit, mixed-use project where he hopes to add a grocery store. ``Getting out a tape measure and pacing the floor to figure out how much space these units have just isn't going to cut it.''

The two developers agree that because urban living is new in Tampa, buyers need to see full-scale condominium models. In addition, customers need colorful visuals of what the poolside cabanas will look like or the rooftop grilling area.

``In large cities such as Chicago and Boston these kind of hybrid loft/condo floor plans are common. But not here,'' Sirdar said.

Sirdar said he didn't want buyers to see bits and pieces, so he went to the expense of having a fully furnished model where the glass balcony area has a table and chairs ready for wine sipping.

``A person walks into this 1,030-square-foot unit and they say, `OK, I can live here,' '' said Stoltenberg, walking into a $268,910 Magenta model unit.

This elaborate approach seems to be working. Sirdar has a list of 600 potential buyers for his 243 units. The Place offers nine 600-square-foot efficiencies beginning at $150,000, with other units ranging up to $1 million.

Sirdar's plans include ``a European-style shopping area'' with wide sidewalks for a cafe environment, in addition to artists' galleries.

In one week, Stoltenberg took reservations for 200 units. Grand Central at Kennedy offers 34 studios priced at $150,000-plus up to $1 million penthouses.

The complex plans a grocery store, retail stores, a community theater and an art gallery. Once residents are under contract, they will be asked what stores and services they want.

``If someone had a great sushi experience in Atlanta, we'll try to bring it here,'' Stoltenberg said.

Reporter Janis D. Froelich can be reached at (813) 259-7143.

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