Channelside to get new apartment high rise - FOX 13 News

Channelside to get new apartment high rise

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

For those who live in the area, life in the Channelside district of downtown Tampa is "where it's at."

"This whole area of Channelside is very up and coming," said David Kunkel, who moved to Grand Central at Kennedy about a year ago.

Soon those people will have company.

A vacant lot that sits at the corner of Madison and Meridian in the Channelside may not look like much now, but in 19 months or so, developers say it will be a shiny new condo-style apartment high rise.

Mercury Advisors, the developers who brought the Grand Central at Kennedy condos to life back in 2007, is the driving force behind "The Martin at Meridian."

"It's a 316 unit apartment complex going to be roughly a 24 story tower," said Frank Bombeeck of Mercury Advisors.

The unit will be all rentals.

Also part of the plan is 36,000 square feet of retail space, possibly big enough to fit a long desired grocery store in Channelside.

But with several other condo complexes in the area, including the new Pierhouse units near completion just down the street on Meridian, does the district need another 300 apartment units?

The experts say absolutely.

"The depressed housing market in general has taken people that can't buy and made them into renters on a more permanent basis," said Bard Monroe of Prudential Tropical Realty.

That's not all.

Realtors say most of the buildings in Channelside are just about full.

"We're getting four, five calls a day and we can't field them; we cannot put people anywhere," said Bombeeck.

And with that type of demand, don't expect rents or mortgages to go down.

"Anytime you add units or add inventory typically the prices go down, but I don't think that in that situation, in that market we're going to see that," said Monroe.

And realtors say adding 300 more units might accomplish something else, getting the attention of a company capable of finally bringing a grocery store to life in Channelside.

"When you only have a small group, it doesn't pay to put a store in," said Monroe. "When you start getting more people in there you're going to see more services."

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