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Developers to retool plans for Mirror Lake condo tower

Veronica Brezina

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A rendering of the Lake House condominiums. All renderings: Skyward Living/Place Architecture.

The development group behind a proposed 18-story condo tower in the Mirror Lake neighborhood will return to the drawing board. 

Questions surfaced during a Wednesday St. Petersburg Development Review Commission meeting regarding the scale, height and setback of the Lake House Condominiums project that would tower over its surrounding neighbors at 200 Mirror Lake Drive, across from Mirror Lake Park. 

The conclusion: The developer will have to rework the plans to reduce the scale of the building and have an additional setback to not jeopardize the characteristic of the community. 

The height of the Lake House Condominiums compared to surrounding developments.  

The development is being led by St. Pete-based Skyward Living, controlled by St. Pete local Hudson Harr. He is working with Tim Clemmons of Place Architecture to design the building that would feature 77 condo units, a 131-space garage and an 840-square-foot retail/restaurant space. 

The applicant was seeking approval of the site plan, and FAR (floor area ratio) and building height bonuses within the Downtown Center – 2 zoning district. 

The current plans entail demolishing  a pair of two-story office buildings and two, two-story apartment buildings, totaling eight units. Three of the four structures are “contributing to the district but are not nationally or locally designated,” according to city documents. 

The team would construct a 13-story tower at the site atop a five-story podium (base of the building) with floors two through five serving as a parking garage. 

A rendering of Lake House Condominiums from the northeast perspective. 

Floor six would have residential units, a terrace and a pool, while floors seven through 17 would have residential units and the 18th floor would feature four penthouses, ranging from 1,650 to 2,800 square feet.

However, when city staff reviewed the plans, they found it was not consistent with the characteristics of the adjacent buildings. 

“We are willing to reduce the podium height to a four-story podium [a one-level reduction] and build a 14-story tower, maintaining the same height,” said Craig Taraszki, a partner at Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel and Burns LLP, which is representing the applicant. 

He said the development team is also willing to do an additional setback of six feet, totaling a setback of 16 feet from Mirror Lake Drive. 

Taraszki noted how the project was consistent with the comprehensive plan, the land area is adequate for this type of development and the team is sensitive to the historical sites within 200 feet of the site; there are no local landmarks and contributing buildings other than the buildings that would be demolished. 

“To say we failed because of demolishing contributing structures is an overreach in my opinion,” he said. 

A rendering of Lake House Condominiums from the southwest perspective. 

He added that the development team is also designing the podium with an “art moderne style” and bricks to be in harmony with the surrounding buildings. 

When commissioners suggested reducing the podium of the building by two stories rather than a single story, arguing that it would still meet the parking requirements, Jenny Miers, Principal at Place architecture, and Harr with Skyward Living contested. 

Miers explained if two levels were to be removed, it would further condense the garage and create engineering and interior layout issues. Harr added that while reducing the project by two levels would still meet parking requirements, it would likely result in parking issues as there’s typically more than one individual living in each residential unit and the city has limited street parking. 

Due to the mounting number of potential changes to consider, the DRC members voted unanimously to defer a hearing for the revised project plans to Jan. 2, 2023. 

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    Misty Neal

    November 7, 2022at12:38 pm

    First of all 8 live in an apartment building that isn’t being demolished and sits facing this building you are trying to build . Yes your building does effect this neighborhood very much . Not to mention at night mirror lake mirrors Downton St Petersburg on it’s waters and you would totally block the beauty of that . Leave old st Pete alone .

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