Proposed condo building would be tallest in St. Petersburg
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02 / 05 / 15
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The Kolter group paid $17.5 million for two acres near the downtown waterfront, and proposes building a 41-story condominium tower and a 13-story hotel on the property

ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman Wednesday formally asked the Federal Aviation Administration to change flight rules at Albert Whitted Airport to allow 450 feet tall buildings downtown.

Right now, the limit is 400 feet.

"It may make more projects economically feasible if they can go a little bit higher," the city's David Goodwin explained to FOX 13 News. "If we can do something that doesn't impact the airport operations, increases safety, and allows a little bit more development rights then that's good for everybody."

A project called One St. Petersburg prompted the request. The Kolter group paid $17.5 million for two acres near the downtown waterfront, and proposes building a 41-story condominium tower and a 13-story hotel on the property.

"With the city making the request to the FAA, that should clear us to get our FAA 'Letter of No Hazard.' That's the final item for us to get site approval," project manager Brian Van Slyke said, adding the tower design is "...fully within the city's current zoning codes, so we can go through the city's streamlined review process and not require any variances."

Van Slyke said at sell-out, the condominium values would exceed $250 million. He claimed demand for luxury condos is strong.

"We have over $40 million in reservations to date, on our way to $50 million."

There are 253 residential units in the project, and a separate 13-story hotel with 174 rooms shares the acreage. Those will address a long-standing deficit of short-term accommodations downtown.

"If they are not downtown, they can't walk around here, and we lose some other revenue opportunities," St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce president Chris Steinocher said. "Plus what we've learned mostly is if people have a chance to walk around our downtown and stay a couple of days and see what's going, on we tend to get them back. We tend to get them back as return visitors, but also folks who want to live here, work here."

Groundbreaking for the condominium tower is scheduled for March 2016, with completion of the entire project in late 2018.

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