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Places This Week: Habitat, county invest in Lealman

Veronica Brezina



820 Columbus Drive, Tierra Verde.

A weekly roundup of local real estate deals.


Habitat for Humanity sets sights on Lealman

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties has scooped up 12 properties in Lealman as part of its strategy to revitalize the area. 

The nonprofit purchased the 12 properties located in the Grove Park Vista neighborhood from Paragon Oz Development in a $1.3 million deal. 

The properties purchased are along 54th, 53rd and 52nd streets. They are vacant with the exception of a property at 2747 53rd Ave. N., which is currently the site of a bar. 

Sean King, Director of Government Relations and Advocacy for the local Habitat division, said Habitat plans to build 10 homes on the sites. 

The purchase of the properties was made possible by a partnership with Pinellas County, which has a comprehensive framework for long-term development to address blighted conditions and improve the overall quality of life in Lealman, King said. 

An example of the types of homes Habitat has built. Image provided by HFHPWP.

“The Lealman CRA is fast becoming a targeted focus area for Habitat. These properties are a part of a larger set of redevelopment activities. Recently, Habitat was selected to develop twelve scattered-site homes within the Lealman CRA by the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County,” he said. 

On June 24, Habitat will celebrate the completion of five of these homes as a part of a 10-in-10 campaign – where 10 families will become homeowners. 

Habitat anticipates completing 20 more homes in the upcoming months.

“These partnerships will help revitalize the community, increase homeownership and affordable housing options, and strengthen the neighborhood’s overall economic stability. Given today’s current real estate and construction market we would not be able to provide these much-needed opportunities to the community, without the significant subsidy the County is providing,” Habitat President and CEP Mike Sutton said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more thankful for the generous support that will help us achieve our goals.”

All homes will be sold to families who earn 80% or below of the area’s median income.


Waterfront Tierra Verde estate sells for over $6 million

The estate at 820 Columbus Drive in Tierra Verde has new owners. 

An attorney and his wife sold their 5,974-square-foot home earlier this month to the Nelson-Wang Family Trust in a $6.426 million deal. 


820 Columbus Drive, Tierra Verde.


The estate, built in 1994, has an outdoor oasis with a putting green, an outdoor jungle gym, a pool and a dock outfitted with jet ski and boat lifts. 

Inside, the five-bedroom home boasts a large entry foyer and a living room with 24-foot high ceilings, a gas fireplace with a custom mantle facade, and windows offering panoramic views of the Gulf. 


820 Columbus Drive, Tierra Verde.


Two bedroom suites, one with private balcony access overlooking the Gulf, are on the first living level. Upstairs is the main suite with a marbled finished bath.  

The home also has a grand executive office with a private balcony, a fitness room, a game room, an elevator, electronic shutters throughout and solar electric power, according to the listing. 

The buyers and sellers were represented by Dania Perry with Century 21. 

The home was originally listed for $6.9 million. It last sold in 2018 for $2.85 million. 


Clearwater selects master developer for bluff properties 

Thursday evening, the Clearwater City Council voted to begin negotiations and enter into an agreement with The Bluffs, one of three development teams that submitted proposals to acquire the former 2.6-acre City Hall and the 1.43-acre Harborview sites. The sites are known as the “bluff properties” that the city envisions could attract more people to downtown and also ink to the planned redeveloped waterfront park that a new amphitheater will anchor.

The Bluffs team is led by the New York-based Gotham Organization, which has developed over 40 million square feet of commercial and residential developments, and The DeNunzio Group, which is a locally based firm that has been involved in a handful of projects in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.  

The Harborview site as envisioned by The Bluffs group. Image: The Bluffs/City of Clearwater.

The Bluffs’ proposal includes the development of a 13-story, 150-room hotel with 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space for the Harborview site. Meanwhile, the former City Hall site would have two 27-story towers with a combined total of 600 rental units.

Now that the city has selected the master developer, they must reach a development agreement by July 7 to make the deadline to get the referendum question on the November ballot – as the decision will ultimately be made by the citizens.


Kolter and partner to redevelop Fit2Run and Exchange Hotel sites 

The Kolter Group and the Ally Capital Group are planning to demolish the Fit2Run and Exchange Hotel in St. Petersburg and redevelop the sites into a new hotel and residential tower.

Under the entities KT St Pete Runner LLC and Ally MW LLC, the groups filed plans for a mixed-use project encompassing a 35-story apartment complex and an adjacent 13-story hotel. Ally Capital Group, headed by Andrew Wright of Franklin Street, also filed a demolition request with the city to demolish the Exchange Hotel.

A rendering of the proposed 13-story hotel that would be built at the Fit2Run site. City of St. Petersburg.

Last year, under the same entity, the Delray Beach-based Kolter Group purchased the two Fit2Run properties – one at 256 2nd St. N. in a $5.1 million deal, and 232 2nd St. N. for $2.4 million.

The properties included the parcel where Fit2Run, a retailer selling athletic apparel, currently operates; as well as a rear parking lot.  

The site plan shows the hotel would be built at the Fit2Run site and that the neighboring site, which houses the Exchange Hotel, would be redeveloped into a 361-unit residential tower with a seven-story parking structure.


The proposed veteran community in Pinellas County marches forward 

Valor Preserve, an affordable-housing project created for veterans, has rebounded after initially being denied in December. 

This week, the city’s development review board approved a variance request for Valor Preserve, which would be built on a 13.5-acre property at 9575 Seminole Blvd. 

The 64-unit housing complex has been in the works since the Pinellas County Housing Authority acquired the site in 2013.

The complex would serve those earning 60% of the area median income, with over half of the units designated for veterans. 

The project did not need to go before the city council. 


DevMar to build a 20-story tower near Vantage St. Pete

One block away from DevMar Development’s Vantage St. Pete apartment building will be a new hi-rise, from the same developer.

DevMar, which is behind the 11-story Vantage St. Pete apartment building and The Metro, a 100-unit apartment project underway in the Edge District, has submitted plans to build Sky St. Pete – a 20-story building with 246 apartment units.

A rendering of Sky St. Pete as seen from Vantage. DevMar Development

The $94 million apartment tower would be built on land that is an assemblage of five parcels. There are residential homes on the parcels that would be demolished.

“We are driven to create this development because we experience firsthand the overwhelming demand for apartment living downtown, in this very type of product,” DevMar CEO Mark DeMaria said. “The St. Pete residential units demanded by so many are attracting a highly educated, entrepreneurial, business-minded, arts appreciative, entertainment and dining-attracted class of residents. These residents will help all the businesses, arts, restaurants and entertainment in St. Pete flourish even more.”

The project is scheduled to go before the St. Petersburg Development Review Commission Aug. 3.  

DevMar Development, which plans to seek FAR (floor area ratio) bonuses, will not offer workforce or affordable housing. The company will be contributing to the City’s Housing Capital Improvements Projects (HCIP) trust fund, which goes toward the city’s workforce housing efforts. 

Once construction commences, it’s expected to take 28 months to complete.

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