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Catalyze 2022: DDA Development Principal Bowen Arnold

Veronica Brezina

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DDA Development Principal Bowen Arnold. File photo.

We’re asking thought leaders, business people and creatives to talk about 2022 and give us catalyzing ideas for making St. Pete a better place to live. What should our city look like? What are their hopes, their plans, their problem-solving ideas? This is Catalyze 2022.

It’s hard to miss seeing DDA Development’s name in the headlines of new construction projects on the rise in St. Petersburg. 

Tampa-based DDA Development is the development group behind multiple projects popping out of the ground, including the 23-story planned condo project The Nolen and the Orange Station at the Edge project development, which will be at the site of the old St. Petersburg Police headquarters. 

While The Nolen will have luxury condo units, DDA’s other projects have a big focus on affordable housing needs such as Orange Station and the Sixty90 apartment project on Central Avenue

“Affordable and workforce housing is needed everywhere all over the country. The city has been encouraging workforce housing and we will have those units at Orange Station,” Arnold said, explaining how DDA intends to “develop responsibly” with all of its projects. 

“Some residents fear St. Pete is becoming overdeveloped with higher densities. The land prices have become higher, which means you need a bigger return on investment. The fear is we will become the next Miami, and we are sensitive to that,” he said. 

Orange Station is one of the most anticipated projects within the city, as it will bring new workforce units and much-desired Class A office space. 

Orange Station is being developed by Edge Central Development Partners, a joint venture group involving St. Petersburg-based J Square, DDA and Backstreets Capital. 

The development entails creating five buildings that will include 103 residential units, up to 106,000 square feet of office space, 21,400 square feet of commercial space and a 600-space parking garage for public and private use.

The interior demolition was completed and DDA recently received a permit for the sales office on Central Avenue. 

Originally, the group was going to have a large standalone office development on a pad of land but due to the market, they decided to incorporate 50,000 square feet of Class A office inside the 16-story building. 

Now that the pad site is freed up, Arnold said it could be used for a potential hotel user. 

“We’ve talked with hotel groups interested in the site as well the pad where an office building was planned. We think a high-end hotel user with 140-160 rooms and has a restaurant or bar associated with it would complement the development. We need to make sure the user is the right fit for the character of the neighborhood.” 

DDA was one of the groups on the Sugar Hill team that was vying to be selected by Mayor Rick Kriseman for the 86-acre Tropicana Field redevelopment. Kriseman ultimately selected Midtown Development, but did state the floor is still open for others to join Midtown in the sandbox. 

“I would expect us to have a dialogue with Midtown at some point about the affordable housing components,” Arnold said.  

Although DDA primarily focuses on multifamily, it’s also dipping its toes in other projects. 

DDA has started working with  Scott Clendening of St. Petersburg Commercial Partners Realty and Matt Mosk of Largo-based Mosk Development Co., one of the largest industrial and commercial developers in Pinellas County, to develop Motocave, a luxury car condo community in St. Pete. 

“DDA is a relatively small, nimble team and we are fortunate to be able what we want to do. We don’t have a formula, we’ve enjoyed doing a combination. One of the things I’m excited about is the car condo concept – it’s completely different for us,” he said. 

Motocave will be the first-ever car condo project for the St. Pete market. 

Overall, Arnold does foresee even more developments in the future but hopes St. Pete can maintain the balancing act. 

“I do think we are going to see more redevelopment on parcels with higher densities. It’s really important St. Pete stays as St. Pete – is still walkable, drivable and maintains its character. If it does stop, it then stops becoming what we all love about it,” he said.  

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