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St. Pete’s 400 Central reaches construction milestones

Mark Parker

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The view from the Residences at 400 Central's 25th floor. Photos by Mark Parker.

The Residences at 400 Central is halfway to becoming the tallest condominium tower on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and already dwarfs the neighboring Truist Bank building.

Site work at 400 Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg began in October 2022. The Suffolk Construction team began vertical construction on what John Catsimatidis Sr., founder of the Red Apple Group, refers to as a “wow building” in May 2023.

The New York-based billionaire and his wife, Margo, helped lead a small group Saturday to the tower’s 25th floor. The 46-story high-rise will soon top out at 515 feet, according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

“Because of the proximity to the (Albert Whitted) Airport, the highest we could go was 550 feet,” Catsimatidis told the Catalyst. “So, we had to cut down at least four floors. It was supposed to be over 50 floors.”

The tower is halfway to becoming the tallest residential building on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Jacob Hochausler, project manager for Suffolk, said construction crews complete a new floor every six days. Once complete, 400 Central will feature 1.3 million square feet of indoor space.

Catsimatidis visits the area and tours 400 Central every two or three weeks. He said the views are “getting spectacular” and differentiate it from an “ordinary square building that anybody can build.”

“A lot of my people in the real estate department said to me, ‘We’re going to make more money in a regular square building,” Catsimatidis added. “I said, ‘I don’t care about the money – I want to create something that’s beautiful.’ I look forward to living there and moving in next year sometime.”

Hundreds of people share that sentiment. Catsimatidis said only about 120 of the tower’s 301 luxury condominiums remain unsold.

The oval-shaped building also overlooks Mirror Lake.

Red Apple officials declined to provide a pricing update. Residences started at around $800,000 when they announced the $400 million project.

Real estate platform Zillow lists a seventh-floor apartment for $1.325 million. A three-bedroom, four-bathroom penthouse encompassing 3,707 square feet is $5.06 million.

Catsimatidis said prices are about half of what someone would pay in an identical building in Naples. Ralph Zirinsky, senior vice president of development for Red Apple, said condominium costs increased as project uncertainty decreased.

The building should reach its peak by the fall and open in about 18 months. “They’re buying at a different level,” Zirinsky said.

“We’re doing very well,” he added. “We sold four penthouses after the new year.”

Views to the west will include the Historic Gas Plant District’s redevelopment.

New technology has mitigated thousands of potential construction conflicts. Suffolk utilizes an advanced virtual modeling program that creates an interactive, three-dimensional digital twin of the tower and its infrastructure.

In addition to walls and ceilings, the program provides a detailed view of every electrical outlet and pipe long before crews install the physical version. “It kind of eliminates things that pop up in the field where you notice it eight floors up, and now you have to correct eight floors,” Zirinsky explained.

“It’s a time-consuming process to do that, but you’re ultimately saving field time.”

The project encompasses a full city block and includes 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. While discussions are ongoing, Red Apple has yet to announce potential tenants.

In addition to 301 luxury condominiums, 400 Central will also feature 45,000 square feet of Class A office space. Several local development stakeholders have recently noted that St. Petersburg has not seen a new, premium office building since the 1980s.

The high-rise’s 46th floor will feature an observatory and amenity deck. The downtown Tampa skyline was visible from the 25th story Saturday, despite cloudy skies.

Once complete, the tower will also provide much-needed Class A office space.

Catsimatidis plans to host a topping-out party once 400 Central reaches its tallest point. He pledged to tell attendees that “on a clear day, you can see forever.”

Catsimatidis said he typically arrives in St. Petersburg – often via private plane at nearby Albert Whitted Airport – on a Friday and returns to New York the following Sunday. He eagerly anticipates living in the city and praises its restaurants, museums and “safe streets.”

“St. Pete has become a real special place now,” Catsimatidis said. “I love St. Pete.”

Mayor Ken Welch (right) shakes hands with John Catsimatidis at a Jan. 19 luncheon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    w french

    March 20, 2024at2:22 pm

    It is SPs classic charm which draws in these ugly monstrosities.

  2. Avatar

    Debi Mazor

    March 20, 2024at9:07 am

    Impossible for me to believe this project sailed through the City’s Planning Dept without a whiff of public opposition! I think residents must have been side-tracked by Covid fears. The mention of Naples in the article speaks volumes. Naples is hardly representative of the economic reality of St Pete. As more and more of our financially challenged neighbors are pushed out to the hinterlands, the demographic diversity (yes, it’s not a swear word), is getting traded for a rarified statum of the Uber-wealthy. It’s not too late to slow down.

  3. Avatar

    Odessa Jackson

    March 19, 2024at12:47 pm

    Florida becoming playground for the rich and the famous…sleepy St. Petersburg is wide awake now…in a bad unaffordable way… been here since 1974 never thought it would be so expensive to live here

  4. Avatar

    Donna Kostreva

    March 19, 2024at9:47 am

    Sadly the quaint St.Petersburg we moved here to enjoy is turning into an ugly, crowded, gridlocked Miami. This is why people only live a century. They can hardly wrap their heads around what is seen.

  5. Avatar

    John

    March 19, 2024at9:06 am

    Sorely needed commercial office space

  6. Avatar

    Darren E Ginn

    March 19, 2024at8:02 am

    The destruction of quaint DTSP. What a shame.

  7. Avatar

    Mike

    March 18, 2024at10:39 pm

    Ok was wondering if you showed the actual tower, TY for doing so.

  8. Avatar

    TimK

    March 18, 2024at6:30 pm

    Wow what a monstrosity

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