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DRC approves $55M, 25-story 4th Street condo

David Krakow

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St. Petersburg’s Design Review Commission (DRC) Wednesday unanimously approved a 25-story, 152-unit condominium tower proposed for 4th Avenue and 4th Street South. Rendering: Valor Capital.

Despite some community objection, St. Petersburg’s Design Review Commission (DRC) Wednesday unanimously approved a 25-story, 152-unit condominium tower proposed for 4th Avenue and 4th Street South. 

The builder is Clearwater-based Valor Capital, which plans a $55 million hybrid model called a condotel that will allow for both full-time occupation and short-term rentals.

Valor CEO Moises Agami said his company was partnering with luxury French furniture retailer Roche Bobois to provide some common-space furniture and amenities. The two companies previously collaborated on a building in Mexico.

The condominium would replace three existing buildings on a half-acre lot: A two-story and a three-story building, both constructed in 1920, and a four-story facility built in 2003. They are located at 332, 340 and 344 4th St. South. The DRC confirmed that the parcel does not fall within state or national historically protected sites.

The ground floor would include a residential lobby, 4,893 square feet of commercial space and 130 parking spaces.

Agami touted his proposed tower, called 4th and 4th in renderings, as a less expensive option for downtown residents that prefer buying as opposed to renting. He hopes to break ground sometime in 2024, expecting construction to take two-and-one-half to three years.

With regard to short-term rentals, Agami said his company is simply respecting St. Pete’s housing needs.

“We live in a modern world where you have snowbirds who want to live here part of the year and digital nomads who want to travel,” he explained. “St. Pete is becoming a tech city, bringing young professionals who want to own.” He said that his tower will allow residents another option to ever-increasing rents and high-priced condos.

Concerns were voiced by a representative of Preserve the ‘Burg and residents of the nearby Sage apartment building at 400 4th Ave. In a prepared statement, Treasurer Bill Hoth of the Sage condominium association decried the inclusion of a “sky lounge” on the 25th floor, and the use of a building as an Airbnb or hotel.

Valor attorney Don Mastry, in response to a question at the meeting, said it was not yet known if the lounge would be open to the public. Another commission member said he was happy it was on the top floor, not the ground.

Agami explained that short-term rentals would probably allow 15- or 30-day stays. 4th and 4th will not function as an Airbnb. Valor will outsource those regulations to a management company that has not been chosen, Agami said. “There will be strict rules,” he promised.

Some on the commission brought up that an Airbnb or hotel model would require 24-7 staffing, not necessarily needed for a residence-only building. Karen Carmichael, Sage board vice president, said that the building height, contrary to Valor’s assertion, was “not consistent with the neighborhood.” The Sage is 13 stories tall.

The next step is for Valor to comply with site plan requirements before it begins applying for permits. One requirement is that Valor contribute $550,000 to the Housing and Capital Improvement Trust Fund. It must also provide public art, in the amount of one half of one percent of construction costs up to $100,000.

Valor was not required to submit a traffic impact study based on the project’s intended use.

Manny Leto, executive director of Preserve the ‘Burg, expressed opposition based on the loss of affordable housing and the proposed demolition of the two century-old buildings, admitting that the two buildings, “while historic, are not historically designated.”

Previously, Leto had told the Catalyst that a new study showed that 81% of the city’s small, multifamily buildings were built before 1960, providing much-needed affordable housing.

 

 

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Lisa

    February 21, 2024at1:28 pm

    It’s clear that the developer and City have little respect for the people that live immediately around this proposed bldg. The immediate area is a fairly quiet residential neighborhood with both long term rentals and owner occupied housing, of low to midrise bldgs. Both the height of this proposed building and its use with short term rentals is not consistent with the direct existing uses and will have negative impacts to those of us that live next to it. There are other sites downtown where this would fit in fine, but why put this in an area where this does not fit and will negatively impact what is already there? In addition, there is no way that construction of a building this size will not cause damage to the residential buildings that surround it. We are already dealing with damage from the developer on the corner of 3rd and 3rd. It’s just sad that one developer gets to benefit at the expense of so many others that already own property next to it.

  2. Avatar

    Bruce

    January 18, 2024at4:12 pm

    Sad, slowly our familiar St Pete is disappearing as big money comes in and builds, builds, builds. All the businesses on Beach Drive and lower central ave downtown have moved or closed due to rent increase. People south of the city are being railroaded out as condos and new homes are built. St Pete is just not the same and has become unaffordable to people who have been living here.

  3. Avatar

    Robin Jones

    January 14, 2024at1:03 pm

    The code does not include a “hybrid” between condos and hotels used at the hearing by the developer nor the “condotel” language used here. They claim to adhere to all of the requirements for both hotels and condos but the neighbor comments (which were not included in the article) challenged that.

  4. Avatar

    Donna Kostreva

    January 12, 2024at5:40 pm

    We only live one hundred years because the shock of what changes we see around us is too dramatic to bear. Gone is the quiet little town of yesteryear where each building had its own character. I will cling longingly to my memories in my century old home within walking distance of these new monstrosities. But oh! I cannot wait to see the French furniture in the public spaces and that dreamy sky lounge. Where is the potable water coming from for all these newcomers?

  5. Avatar

    FRANCES ELLIOTT

    January 11, 2024at9:14 pm

    How on earth do they figure that many parking spaces for that amount of condo hotel or whatever they’re calling it. You can’t find parking down there as it is! I had business to take care of at City of St Pete, 301 Central Ave. I was there early in the day. Went to pull in the parking garage. Big sign GARAGE FULL. Of course the plan got approved when is anything ever denied, excep Moffit got denied. GREED

  6. Avatar

    Laura

    January 11, 2024at6:22 pm

    Big surprise. They approve everything.

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