High-end condo buildings sprout throughout downtown St. Pete - FOX 13 News

High-end condo buildings sprout throughout downtown St. Pete

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

A wave of housing construction in downtown St. Petersburg could swell the downtown population by 25 percent of more.

According to city officials, about 8,100 people now live downtown. Approximately 1,500 housing units are in various phases of construction or permitting.

That will translate into at least a couple of thousand new residents in the foreseeable future.

"The city has to stay on top of it and try to address what those requirements are for police and fire and parks and recreation, for sanitation," city economic development director David Metz told FOX 13 News.

The “Bliss Over Beach Drive” is the latest announced project. It will offer 30 oversized luxury condominiums, at prices starting near $1 million.

It is one of only a handful of relatively small condo projects in the downtown area, and demand is expected to be strong.

Smith and Associates Real Estate represents the project, and Smith's David Traynor expects the 30 units will move quickly.

"When we look down Beach Drive at this point, we have over 700 residences," Traynor said. "And on any given day, we have between five and ten on the market for sale."

He added today's buyers want to occupy the condos as either first or second homes "...as opposed to the flipping days eight, nine, ten years ago."

Several large luxury apartment buildings are also under construction, promising to deliver 300 or more units each. Traynor said rents are roughly $2 a square foot, which means a 1,500-square foot apartment could cost $3,000 a month.

He said the clientele include a large percentage of empty nesters trying out urban living for the first time.

"They like to rent first, and then take their time and find the right purchase," Traynor explained. "And frankly, because there has not been a lot of new [condo] towers as of recent, they're waiting to see what's coming next."

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