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I have no idea where this came from, but I am curious

Condo project moves on after investor drops out

Harborage Marina Village developers are looking for a replacement investor and say the project is progressing.

By SHARON L. BOND, Times Staff Writer

Published June 23, 2004


ST. PETERSBURG - The group planning the $40-million Harborage Marina Village condominium project, one of the first large developments south of downtown, has lost one of its investors, which kept it from closing on the land for the project.

Even so, plans for the 14-story condo tower near the Salvador Dali museum on Third Street S are still on track, said William E. Barber, president of Harborage Marina Development Corp.

"We're looking for another investor," he said Monday. "We haven't stopped work on the project. We have other people; we just haven't finalized it."

Barber said he expects the additional investors to be lined up by week's end.

Kevin Bessolo, owner of Bessolo Design Group in St. Petersburg, is the investor who dropped out.

"The time frame was too tight to get all our resources together and close the deal," Bessolo said. He said he did not want to pay for an extension. Bessolo was not in the group when the project was announced late last year but joined later as the lead developer.

The development group was scheduled to close on the purchase of 3.7 acres at 1100 Third St. S on May 15, said Harborage Marina owner Stan Johnson of Dallas. His company, Marinas International, owns 11.5 acres in the area. He said the developers approached him late last year about buying a piece of the land for the project.

The 3.7-acre site is in two parcels, one on each side of the street.

"It came up to the May 15 closing date, and they chose not to close and forfeited the earnest money," said Johnson, who declined to specify how much except to describe it as a "substantial amount of money that they walked away from."

Bessolo said he still thinks the project is viable. Johnson agreed, saying his company could decide to develop the project, though its strength is in marina ownership and management.

"We've been active talking with real estate companies that could be our marketing arm. We had them making proposals to us about what to do," Johnson said.

Harborage Marina Village was announced as a mixed-use project with 55 condominiums, ranging in price from $430,000 to $1.3-million. Residents would have a chance to buy a boat slip.

If it is built, it will move the condominium development activity that has helped revitalize downtown St. Petersburg to the south.

Condominium towers with luxury units have become a common sight downtown. As residents filled them over the past few years, support services have come on line, including BayWalk, an entertainment-retail center, and University Village, a shopping center anchored by a Publix grocery store.

At $40-million, Harborage Marina Village is by no means the largest of the city's new developments. In fact, Parkshore Plaza, now under construction downtown on Beach Drive NE, is a $100-million project.

But Harborage Marina Village would sit south of the downtown core and on the edge of several areas where revitalization is not as hot as in other parts of the city. At the time it was announced, Mayor Rick Baker said he hoped it would spark redevelopment in the Old Southeast and Bartlett Park neighborhoods.

The city already has approved the project.

Its main building will be the 14-story condo tower. The site is near Albert Whitted Airport.

Former Mayor Randy Wedding, who is involved in the project, said the Federal Aviation Administration had approved the project, which he said was designed not to interfere with the air space. It will be 155 feet high, he said, and the FAA's limit is 158 feet.

Bessolo, whose company does architecture, engineering, developing and contracting, said he still would like to be involved in the group.

"Certainly we would like to be in the role of developer and be in the lead position," he said. "We also would very much be interested in being any part of it we could."

[Last modified June 23, 2004, 01:00:39]


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THen there is this

Casablanca Towers (the term being used loosely, of course)


And teh realtor propaganda:


Casablanca Towers, an awe-inspired Mediterranean concept offering a host of amenities that brings the feel of old world living and blends it into the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. Traditional by nature but contemporary be design, this extraordinary condominium offers incredible views, outdoor living facilities for your leisure and/or entertaining pleasure around the shimmering pool and deck. Just outside the doors awaits all that downtown St. Petersburg has to offer and beyond. Shopping, leisure activities, parks and recreation areas, museums, performing arts, restaurants, professional sports venues and much more are close by. Casablanca Towers is among one of the best values in the downtown.

Development Type: Condominiums

Priced from $254,998

Not urban at all, but I guess it will fill some space.

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I know nothing of the Casablanca project, which needs to go back to the drawing board IMO. However, the Harborage Marina Village project was announced some months ago. There was a rendering in the article when it was first announced, but I can't locate it online. It actually didn't have a Mediterranean Revival look to it. It looked more like something from the Panhandle, with metal roofing and such -- like the small boating/retail building that's already there. I think this project, if built, will definately spur redevelopment of the 4th Street S corridor and would spill over into the surrounding neighborhoods. A lot of property owners are just sitting on vacant buildings, houses and land waiting for the downtown boom to spread south.

What site did you find the Casablanca project on?

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