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Developer significantly expands plans for Gandy project

Mark Parker



A rendering of the new multifamily development at 12000 Gandy Blvd. in St. Petersburg. All images: Key International.

A proposed 39-acre mixed-use residential development on Gandy Boulevard will now feature nearly 100 additional units, following approval of a second expansion.

Miami-based real estate firm Key International purchased several parcels at 12000 Gandy Blvd. late last year in a combined $19 million all-cash deal. The group then unveiled plans to build a waterfront mixed-use community featuring a marina, boardwalk, amenity area and restaurant concept.

The previously approved proposal encompassed 3,000 linear feet of prime bay frontage and initially included 324 apartments and 52 townhome rentals. However, a new “gray water” statute allowed the DRC to unanimously grant a special exception to the previous site plan at Wednesday’s meeting.

The long-vacant site is south of Gandy Boulevard North, east of Snug Harbor Road Northeast and just west of Tampa Bay. It also exists in a coastal high-hazard area.

The developer can now build an additional 94 units, for a total of 470. Commissioner Tim Clemmons noted the “very consistent” pipeline of 30,000 to 40,000 people moving to the region annually. He expressed his preference for the newcomers to find homes in developed cities like Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. “Rather than the Green Swamp in Pasco and Hillsborough Counties,” added Clemmons.

“Or into our undeveloped land, building single-family subdivisions, because that’s going to have a much greater impact on our wildlife and our nature.”

The project was granted approval for a second expansion, and will now feature 470 units.

The original development agreement allowed 15 units per acre and 0.55 FAR (floor area ratio) for commercial uses. The northern portion of the project was approved to include a 120-unit apartment complex, a commercial marina with 45 wet slips, 72,000 square feet of retail space and 21,000 square feet for a restaurant. The DRC also allowed up to 256 residential units and 225 wet slips on the site’s southern portion.

However, the State Legislature passed a density bonus statute in 2021 for developments that provide gray water – or untreated household wastewater – recycling technologies. That allows a 35% density increase for projects over 25 units if the reuse system covers at least 75% of homes.

In December, the St. Petersburg City Council approved a second amendment to the development agreement. That allowed the applicant to utilize the gray water density bonus, which increased the number of allowable units from 376 to 470.

Amenities for the community include two resort-style pools, a clubhouse, volleyball, basketball and pickleball courts, a playground and a recreational field. It will also feature a boardwalk lined with exercise paths and a kayak and paddleboard launch area.

The developer still seeks a tenant for the 8,000-square-foot waterfront restaurant, which will sit adjacent to a public dry stack marina and wet slips. Residents and restaurant visitors can anchor watercraft at the facility.

“This property was previously developed, and it’s been vacant for a long time,” said Clemmons. “So, I’m all in favor of developing it. I am very much in favor of it being done in a responsible way, and I think there’s been a lot of planning on this.”

Key International has developed over 10 million square feet of residential units and boasts a $1.5 billion hotel portfolio. The group is responsible for the dual-branded Residence Inn and SpringHill Suites hotel in Clearwater Beach.

The project team includes engineering consultant Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., South Florida-based MSA Architects, Tampa-based surveyor MRIC Spatial and Fort Lauderdale-based Architectural Alliance Landscape.

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1 Comment

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    Adrian-Lee Steininger

    January 7, 2023at8:21 am

    Looks to me like this development will be for the wealthy people not for any poor elderly and disabled! We live in low cost Housing and our rent went up $75.00 in December. The elderly come to Florida to retire and get out of the cold, snow and ice. They are not all wealthy and many depend on Social Security and Disability income. Our apartments are not being kept up physically. Why not take the money you make and lift up those less fortunate. Where are we to go when only the wealthy can afford to live here? We have worked all our lives for low wages and we’re unable to put away retirement funds. We barely survived. We worked for the wealthy and struggled to raise our families. Our only relief comes from God. We know someday Jesus will take us to a better home. The wealthy have it all now. Where will they spend eternity?!?

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