Connect with us


Inside the changing plans for a $115 million development

Mark Parker



A rendering of the 23-story, $115 million Gallery Haus project. The development group stressed that provided image is preliminary and likely to change.

Diego Bonet saw immense potential in a proposed 23-story tower that would overlook Tropicana Field before he realized a $6.5 billion project would soon take shape across the street.

Bonet, founder of Miami-based development firm LD&D, called the site’s proximity to the Historic Gas Plant District’s redevelopment “the icing on the cake.” He and his counterparts at real estate investment firm Black Salmon recently acquired the .77-acre parcel sandwiched between St. Petersburg’s Edge and Grand Central Districts for $9.05 million.

Its previous owners, St. Petersburg-based Apogee Real Estate Partners, had already received approval to build a 23-story tower at the site that would offer sweeping views of downtown. So, why did the company decide to sell before breaking ground?

“The decision was made to wind down Apogee and liquidate,” managing partner John Barkett told the Catalyst. “I’ve been active in the market for over 20 years and remain active with Trails Crossing Park while continuing to secure development sites throughout St. Petersburg and greater Tampa Bay through my new venture,  Ascension Real Estate Partners.

A view from the proposed tower. Diego Bonet, founder of development firm LD&D, called the Historic Gas Plant District’s upcoming redevelopment “a game-changer.” Photo provided.

The joint venture between LD&D and Black Salmon closed on the property Dec. 22. Bonet explained that the firms implemented “subtle,” recently approved changes to Apogee’s original plan.

The $115 million mixed-use development, Gallery Haus, will still feature a 23-story tower. However, Bonet said it would now offer 253 units – less than the city’s 260 limit but significantly more than the previously proposed 204.

Bonet said the residences are slightly smaller, but the amenity space increased to over 10,000 square feet. He said that will include a fully equipped wellness facility.

While the rooftop co-working space will remain, Bonet called an updated façade “fairly different. We tried to give it a lot more of an industrial, urban feel,” he said.

LD&D and Black Salmon derived the St. Petersburg project’s name from a recently completed joint venture in Miami – Wynwood Haus. “The Warehouse (Arts) District really reminds us of what Wynwood used to look like in its infancy,” Bonet said.

“We wanted to give the Gallery Haus development a little more resemblance to Wynwood Haus,” he added. “It has darker textures and is a little bit more what you’d expect to see in an industrial-type neighborhood.”

A rendering of the recently-completed Wynwood Haus. Image: Black Salmon.

The Gallery Haus will feature 5,000 square feet of retail space. Bonet plans for some businesses to face 17th Street and others the Pinellas Trail, which abuts the property to its south.

He said the firms anticipate including restaurants, a coffee shop and possibly a small market. Bonet said the goal is to provide value to the tower and adjoining neighborhoods, including the Warehouse Arts District about a mile to the southeast.

Barkett and other stakeholders are working to activate underutilized properties around the Pinellas Trail and recreate some of the Atlanta BeltLine’s success in St. Pete. Bonet believes Gallery Haus and the adjacent Mill Creek development can aid those efforts, and expects to break ground on the site in the fall.

“You’re going to get retail on both sides of the Pinellas Trail in that area,” he said. “Plus, going directly to the west of us with Trails Crossing, we think it will be a very nice amenity for the city.”

Bonet noted that LD&D acquired a two-acre parcel in downtown Tampa for $10 million in April. The firm has proposed a $200 million mixed-use development at the site.

Bonet said he and his team fell in love with the region during that process. While the two projects will keep them busy, he said they would “absolutely” look for additional local investments.

“We think St. Pete is just such an incredible market from a quality-of-life perspective,” Bonet said. “It’s so unique compared to the rest of Florida.”



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment, I have read, understand and agree to the Posting Guidelines.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

Email us: spark@stpetecatalyst.com

Subscribe for Free

Share with friend

Enter the details of the person you want to share this article with.