ONE St Petersburg to break ground ahead of schedule
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11 / 16 / 16
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Exclusive: 41-story condo tower, hotel in downtown St. Pete to break ground ahead of schedule

When Kolter Group started planning One St. Petersburg, a 41-story condominium tower on Second Street North, its executives knew the deal could be pushing the limits of a market the size of St. Pete.

But pre-sales have surpassed Kolter's expectations, and the West Palm Beach-based developer will break ground on the 253-unit tower and adjacent 173-room hotel in the first quarter of 2016 — 90 to 120 days ahead of schedule, said Bob Vail, president of Kolter Urban.

"We had a lot of people say, 'Are you sure you want to do a building that big?'" Vail said. "We were cautious about it, and I think the initial results are that it's going to be absorbed in a very reasonable amount of time."

There are confirmed contracts on 88 of the condo units, representing $85 million in sales volume — condos are averaging around $1 million each. Each contract represents a nonrefundable 5 percent deposit, and additional deposits will be required as the project hits certain benchmarks, like breaking ground, Vail said.

The condo tower and 13-story hotel will break ground concurrently, Vail said, though the hotel will wrap up about a year ahead of the condos, in late 2017. The condo tower is slated to deliver units in the fourth quarter of 2018. Kolter has a "commitment" from Hyatt Hotels Corp., Vail said, though the "fine points of flags and fees" is still in negotiations.

Breaking ground early could also draw additional buyers.

"Time really doesn't help especially a project of this size," Vail said. "The only negative we've gotten in sales is it's so long until the delivery. It's a 30-month construction schedule, so the sooner we start — now we can tell people with near certainty when we're going to finish."

Condo buyers have been predominantly local empty nesters or people just shy of retirement age, Vail said, who want a seasonal residence; some have already retired and no longer want to deal with the maintenance of a single-family home. Others are from Atlanta and Orlando and elsewhere, buying a "getaway for the weekend."

Regardless of where they're coming from, Vail said, all are driven by the walkability of downtown St. Pete and its proximity to restaurants and arts venues.

"Our triple play is where we have a downtown location where everything is close and walkable," Vail said, "where we have walkable, we have the waterfront and a large enough project to do real amenities. The cherry on top is water views, so this project has everything we would look for."

The amenities include a 40,000-square-foot, elevated resort deck that features a fitness center, swimming pool, whirlpool and spa and several cabanas.

Beyond a sexy new development, though, One and the adjacent Hyatt have the potential to bring real economic impact to downtown St. Pete. Kolter is projecting the creation of 150 full-time jobs when both are complete, as well as $500,000 in additional hotel bed tax revenue and a $5.5 million increase an annual property taxes.

The number of construction workers on site will average 350 and could be up to 500, with 1.25 million hours of labor required to build One and the Hyatt. That represents $90 million in construction employment and labor wages. Materials will generate $3.6 million in sales tax. The project also means $2.5 million in building and hotel impact fees, according to Kolter.

"One St. Petersburg will be a defining project for the next era of downtown St. Petersburg. The city has worked closely with Kolter in the design and review process to ensure timeliness of applications and permits," St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said in a statement. "We have set the bar very high in regard to this iconic project and I'm very comfortable that Kolter has met these high standards."

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