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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chapter 11

As Sky Falls, Condos Look For Protection

The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 25, 2008

TAMPA - When the foreclosure filing came last month, developer Fida Sirdar determined the only way to save The Place at Channelside condominium was to file for bankruptcy reorganization.

It was either that, he said, or hand the keys over to the bank and walk way.

"Generally, people think bankruptcy means the project is down the tubes," said Sirdar, of Key Developers Group LLC. "But if we didn't believe in this project's future, it would be stupid for us to get into this bankruptcy and waste everyone's time, including our own."

About a half-mile away, the developers of The Towers of Channelside are fighting for success, too. They also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, after Wachovia cut off the company's credit.

Just last week, the developers of 472-unit Tampa Condo II filed to reorganize under bankruptcy. Announced in May 2006, the 51-story condominium project could have been among the city's tallest buildings, replacing a parking lot at Washington and Morgan streets in Tampa's downtown.

And the developers of Trump Tower Tampa say they too may soon be filing for bankruptcy, if they don't secure construction financing for the luxury tower this week.

All these projects have something else in common: vanishing buyers. Developers say buyers either wouldn't close because the market had changed or couldn't close because they no longer qualified for loans. Others were speculators or just lost hope in the projects.

The bankruptcies signal how tough the market is. They represent the beginning of the fallout from an overbuilt condominium market in Tampa, real estate experts say - but in the long run, the filings could actually save the buildings and make the market more affordable.

"Developers have been hanging in there and trying to make it work, but their cash flows are depleting," said real estate lawyer David Carter with Carter & Lyons. "There's going to be a lot of failures."

Some of the condominium projects in trouble are nearly complete, and buyers have already moved in. There are between 150 and 200 people living in the 257 units in the twin Towers, across the street from the Channelside Bay Plaza complex. Buyers at The Place at Channelside have closed on one third of its 245 units.

Watching Prices Drop Is Painful

The bankruptcy filings worry some buyers concerned about their own financial futures. They blame developers in lawsuits for not finishing their projects on time, leaving them with units that aren't worth what they agreed to pay a few years ago when the condominium market was red hot. Some have filed lawsuits seeking to get out of their contracts and to get their deposits back.

Bonnie Dealva, who purchased a unit in The Place, is not suing but said it's difficult to watch the units drop in value. If the contractors had finished the building on time, she said, more buyers would have closed before the market tanked, and the building would be better off.

Dealva said she loves her condominium but decided not to live there because the building feels empty. The Channel District didn't turn out to be the vibrant area she thought it was, she said. She's leasing out her place and renting an apartment near Rocky Point.

Another buyer at The Place, Gerald Confield, had contracts on two units. He said he was able to get 60 percent of his money back on one unit and went through with the purchase of another one. He said he hopes to lease out the unit until the market improves.

For buyers who have already moved in to their units, there are several problems they may encounter.

The main worry is whether condominium association fees, used to pay for maintaining and insuring the building, get paid by the developer, said Carter, the lawyer.

A project's bankruptcy doesn't directly affect a condominium owner, he said. But if the developer or lender subsequently stops paying association fees, he said, all the owners could wind up paying higher fees to cover the unsold units. Fewer fees could mean less money to pay for pool maintenance or common areas.

Other things to worry about include falling property values and high numbers of renters.

"If a condo gets too many renters, the building can deteriorate," Carter said, noting that renters don't always care for the building as owners do. Also, he said, there are so many units for rent that owners are cutting prices to compete, driving down values.

Carter's firm has represented downtown condominium buyers trying to get out of their contracts and said their quests have been successful because of "flaws" in contracts. For example, most of the developers' contracts promised completion by a certain date, and missed it.

Scott Newberger, who contracted to buy a condominium in Towers of Channelside, wants out. He said he was asked to close on his purchase in October but refused because the building was not finished. He said he was concerned the developer could run into trouble, file for bankruptcy and not finish it.

Newberger is trying to get his money back. The building is complete now, but he said he already had to make other housing arrangements and is no longer interested in it.

Credit Gone, Only 1 Option

Richard Sacchi, a partner in Towers of Channelside LLC, said his company at one point had contracts on every unit in the two buildings. Then the market soured and buyers, often investors who wanted to flip their units, started dropping out.

The lender, Wachovia, cut off the developer's credit and wouldn't extend the repayment structure of the loan, Sacchi said. The only option to turn the financial troubles around was to file for Chapter 11, he said.

There are 85 to 90 units left to sell, he said.

"We fully expect to come out of this on the other side," Sacchi said.

Buyers benefit somewhat from the bankruptcy filing, Sacchi said, because the developer has set aside enough money to pay association fees for four to five years.

Jack McCabe, owner of McCabe Research & Consulting in South Florida, follows Florida's condominium market and said he expects more lenders to cut off credit, as Wachovia did in Tampa.

"Wachovia seems to be taking a more rigid stance on payment due dates for condo developers," he said. "Others have been continually postponing due dates, as they want to see the developers close and make as much money as possible."

The bankruptcies, as bad as they sound, could end up helping the projects survive, McCabe said. "A lot of people think this is the kiss of death, but a lot of developers do this so they can reorganize debt and resurface."

McCabe thinks too many condominiums were built too quickly in downtown Tampa, but over time, he said, units will fill up, and downtown will be a better place.

Just two years ago, more than 30 condominium projects were planned for the city's core. Many of those developers have canceled plans because of the sluggish market. Others forge ahead.

A handful opened last year, and developers of SkyPoint on Ashley Drive are well under way on a second tower, Element. Even developers who ran into trouble still believe in downtown's future.

Take Sirdar, whose company built The Place. He plans to start construction on two more projects next year.

"I look at Tampa as a great opportunity," Sirdar said. "We are very hopeful that the market will start to stabilize later this year. Like the windfall didn't last, the doom and gloom won't either."

Researcher Michael Messano contributed to this report. Reporter Shannon Behnken can be reached at (813) 259-7804 or

Friday, February 15, 2008

Depression risk might force U.S. to buy assets


Reuters By John Parry
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fear that a hobbled banking sector may set off another Great Depression could force the U.S. government and Federal Reserve to take the unprecedented step of buying a broad range of assets, including stocks, according to one of the most bearish market analysts.

That extreme scenario, which would aim to stave off deflation and stabilize the economy, is evolving as the base case for Bernard Connolly, global strategist at Banque AIG in London.

In the late 1980s and early 1990's Connolly worked for the European Commission analyzing the European monetary system in the run up to the introduction of the euro currency.

"Avoiding a depression is, unfortunately, going to have to involve either a large, quasi-permanent increase in the budget deficit -- preferably tax cuts -- or restoring overvaluation of equity prices," Connolly said on Monday.

"If conventional monetary policy is not enough to produce that result, the government may have to buy equities, financed by the Fed," Connolly said.

Legal changes would be needed to give the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government the authority to buy stocks. Currently the Federal Reserve can buy only debt issued by the Treasury, as well as U.S. agency debentures and mortgage-backed securities.

While Connolly already sees some parallels with the 1930s, he expects that a more pro-active central bank and government will probably help avert a repeat of that scenario today.

The build up of a credit bubble in recent years was similar to the late 1920s run-up to the Great Depression, he said.
Then, investors were very optimistic about new technologies, and stocks rose against a backdrop of low inflation, and a trend toward globalization. There was even an equivalent of the modern day subprime mortgage debt meltdown in the form of U.S. loans to Latin American countries which had to be written off.

"The big difference is the attitude of central banks and specifically the attitude of the Fed," Connolly said.

Some economists have blamed the U.S. economy's travails in the 1930s on the Federal Reserve's hesitation to inject reserves into the banking system.

However, today's Fed has tried to preempt the danger of a protracted economic slump and has responded swiftly to a credit crunch in the past year and gathering signs of deterioration in the economy, Connolly said.

The Fed has stepped up its temporary additions of reserves to the banking system, and swiftly slashed its benchmark fed funds target rate to 3.0 percent from 5.25 percent in September. Analysts expect at least another 0.5 percentage point cut in next month.

At the same time, "the fed funds rate can't stay significantly above the 2-year note yield," Connolly said.

On Tuesday, the 2-year Treasury note yield was at 2.00 percent, not far above the lowest level since 2004.

The Fed "almost certainly" has to cut the funds rate to 2.0 percent by the end of this monetary easing cycle, he said. If conditions in the banking sector worsen, the Fed could cut the funds rate to 1.0 percent, a low last seen in June 2004.

Global banks have already written down more than $100 billion of bad debts associated with the U.S. subprime mortgage debt meltdown and housing market decline.

However, Fed rate cuts alone are unlikely to avert a prolonged period of economic weakness because the danger still exists that a burdened banking sector will choke off credit to consumers and households.

"The Fed probably can't fix it all on its own now," Connolly said. "There is a chance the Fed gets forced into unconventional cooperation with government," which could involve buying a range of assets to reflate their value.

That would be reminiscent of some steps the U.S. government took in the 1930s when the economy was mired in deflation and high unemployment.

One turning point came when agricultural prices were restored to their pre-slump levels, Connolly said. Such measures were among the New Deal programs that President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched to bolster the economy.

Either way, investors face bleak prospects now without some kind of further government intervention, he said.

Those steps might offer clues to investors in stocks and commodities, which Connolly expects the government might be ultimately force to step in and buy to stabilize markets. He expects that a depression may be averted, but only by the state and the Fed reinflating the price of such assets.

Beleaguered housing, non-government fixed-income securities and even the now overvalued Treasury market have little hope of generating substantial returns for investors over the next few years, he said.

"If we don't avoid depression, the only thing worth holding is cash," he added.

Condos getting Blacklisted

I can't say I'm surprised that banks no longer want throw money at at every Joe that wants to flip a condo but to go as far as to list the projects you won't lend to?
Can we call this a vote of NO-confidence!

South Florida Bsn Journal reports BankUnited blacklists 191 condo projects

How long before other banks decide not to lend on these projects? I didn't see ToC on this list but they're already in Ch.11

* 50 Biscayne in Miami
* 600 Biscayne in Miami
* 1650 Biscayne in Miami
* 900 Biscayne Bay in Miami
* 500 Brickell in Miami
* 1390 Brickell Key in Miami
* 1001 Center in Miami
* 1600 Club in Miami
* Allure in Las Vegas
* Altas de Miami in Miami
* Asia in Miami
* Atlantis Condo in Miami
* Avenue in Miami
* Axis on Brickell in Miami
* Bay Lofts in Miami
* Bayshore Place in Miami
* Beacon in Miami
* Belle Plaza Efficiency in Miami
* Biscayne Tower in Miami
* Blue in Miami
* Boulevard Condos in Miami
* Brickell Bay Club in Miami
* Brickell Bay Tower in Miami
* Brickell Biscayne in Miami
* Brickell City Center in Miami
* Brickell Commons in Miami
* Brickell East in Miami
* Brickell Forest in Miami
* Brickell Harbour in Miami
* Brickell Key in Miami
* Brickell Key I in Miami
* Brickell Mar in Miami
* Brickell on the River in Miami
* Brickell Park in Miami
* Brickell Place in Miami
* Brickell Station in Miami
* Brickell Tennis Club in Miami
* Brickell Townhouse in Miami
* Brickell View in Miami
* Brickell Vista in Miami
* Bristol Tower in Miami
* Capital at Brickell in Miami
* Captiva-F in Miami
* Carboneil in Miami
* Carriage Hills in Hollywood
* Cima Condo in Miami
* Cite in Miami
* City 24 in Miami
* Club at Brickell in Miami
* Commodore Bay in Miami
* Coral Station in Brickell in Miami
* Costa Bella in Miami
* Courts Brickell Key in Miami
* Courvosier Courts in Miami
* Cynergi in Miami
* Delray Estate Condominium in Delray Beach
* District in Green Valley in Las Vegas
* Downtown Lofts 4 in Miami
* Elliot House in Miami
* Emerald at Brickell in Miami
* Empire Towers in Miami
* Epic-Dupont in Miami
* Espirito Santo Plaza in Miami
* Everglades on the Bay in Miami
* Filling Station Lofts in Miami
* Flagler First Condo in Miami
* Fortune House in Miami
* Four Ambassadors 1 in Miami
* Four Ambassadors 2 in Miami
* Four Ambassadors 3 in Miami
* Four Ambassadors $ in Miami
* Four Seasons Hotel & Tower in Miami
* Golden Bay Club in Miami
* Houses of Brickell in Miami
* Ice in Miami
* Ice 2 in Miami
* Icon in Miami
* Imperial in Miami
* Infinity at Brickell in Miami
* IOS on the Bay in Miami
* Ivy in Miami
* Jade Residences at Brickell in Miami
* Kenland Bend south in Miami
* Lake Beach Condo in Miami
* Lakewood Village in Miami
* Latitude on the River in Miami
* Loft in Miami
* Loft II in Miami
* Lofts on Brickell 1 in Miami
* Lofts on Brickell 2 in Miami
* Los Suenos De Brickell in Miami
* Lyghte Miami Condos in Miami
* Lynx in Miami
* Manhattan Condos in Las Vegas
* Marina Blue in Miami
* Mark in Miami
* Marquis Miami in Miami
* Mary Brickell Village in Miami
* Mayfield in Miami
* Meridan at Hughes Center Condo in Las Vegas
* Met 1 in Miami
* Met 2 in Miami
* Met 3 in Miami
* Metropolitan in Miami
* Midtown Miami in Miami
* Mint at Riverfront in Miami
* Mirage Condominium in Las Vegas
* Neo River Lofts in Miami
* Neo Vertica in Miami
* Newport Lofts in Las Vegas
* New Wave in Miami
* Nu River Landings in Fort Lauderdale
* Oasis on the Bay in Miami
* One Broadway in Miami
* One Miami in Miami
* One Miami West in Miami
* One Plaza in Miami
* One Queensridge Place in Las Vegas
* One Riverview Square in Miami
* One Tequesta Point in Miami
* Onyz 2 in Miami
* Opera Tower in Miami
* Overtown Miami in Miami
* Palace in Miami
* Panorama Towers in Las Vegas
* Paramount on the Bay in Miami
* Paramount Park in Miami
* Parc Lofts in Miami
* Park Avenue Condo in Las Vegas
* Park Place in Miami
* Platinum in Miami
* Plaza on Brickell in Miami
* Point at Brickell in Miami
* Point View in Miami
* Pompeii in Miami
* Premiere Towers in Miami
* Provincial Gardens
* Pyramids of Key Biscayne
* Q Club Condo Hotel in Fort Lauderdale
* Quantum on the Bay in Miami
* Regency Towers in Las Vegas
* River Breeze in Miami
* River House Lofts in Miami
* River Oaks in Miami
* Riverfront in Miami
* Riverfront Wind in Miami
* Sail in Miami
* Sail Boat Cay in Miami
* Samari Lake East in Miami
* Seacoast Towers in Miami
* SIAN Ocean Residence Condo in Hollywood
* Sky Las Vegas in Las Vegas
* Skyline Mary Brickell Village in Miami
* Skyline on Brickell in Miami
* SMA in Miami
* Soeil Miami in Miami
* Soho Lofts in Las Vegas
* Solaris Brickell Bay in Miami
* South Miami Ave Condo in Miami
* Summit Brickell in Miami
* Star Lofts in Miami
* Sunset Harbour
* Ten Museum Park in Miami
* The Carriage House
* The Jade Condominium
* The Mark on Brickell Bay
* The Palace Condominium
* The Resort at Singer Island in Riviera Beach
* The Village of Kings Creek
* Three Tequesta Point in Miami
* Turnberry Place in Las Vegas
* Turnberry Towers in Las Vegas
* Two Tequesta Point in Miami
* Uptown Lofts in Miami
* Vanderbilt Gulfside
* Venetian Bay Villages Condo in Kissimmee
* Villa Brickell in Miami
* Villa Magna in Miami
* Villa Regina in Miami
* Village at Hawk's Cay
* Villagio Condo in Port Orange in Port Orange
* Vue at Brickell in Miami
* Wind by Neo in Miami
* Yorker in Miami

Friday, February 01, 2008

TMA - Start of Demo

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Skypoint finally getting a restaurant ?

Been meaning to post this for a while but just don't have complete faith Novare will deliver....Have heard in more than one occasion they had retail/restaurants lined up.
Also, how in the world does ToC(in Ch11) get a pizza place and One Bayshore(barely 75 residents) get Starbucks, while Skypoint sits here with a bunch of hungry people- my guess is we have over 250 residents. We already know people are looking for a Hyde Park Fly bar. They will come, just bring the Tap.

Word has been out for a while that Skypoint will be getting a restaurant/bar named "Taps" - will be on the Polk/Ashley corner. I haven't seen/heard any activity....besides the TMA demo. I'm hoping this will open, 'cause I'm getting tired of pizza and Thai every night!

Channelside Condos In Chapter 11

TAMPA - The developers of the Towers of Channelside, a pair of 29-story luxury condominiums, filed for bankruptcy court protection Friday, stating that Wachovia Corp. cut off its credit.

The developer has sold just 89 of the 257 units, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tampa on Friday. Many of the contracts on units that have not closed fell through because buyers backed out, documents said.

Two partners in the development did not return calls seeking comment.

The company, Towers of Channelside LLC, based in Plant City, listed debt between $50 million and $100 million and assets of between $100 million and $500 million, in Chapter 11 documents.

"Wachovia has refused to allow the debtor to draw the remaining amounts available under the Wachovia loan," the company said in court papers. Wachovia is owed about $58 million, according to court documents.

The 20 largest unsecured creditors are owed $11.6 million. Of those, the three biggest are CT Towers LLC, owed $6.2 million; Batson-Cook Co., owed $3 million; and Kevin Brodsky, owed $1.2 million.

If all buyers with contracts had closed, all creditors would have been paid, the developer said in its filing.

Tampa Realtor Toni Everett said she wasn't surprised by the news and had heard that some buyers weren't able to close.

Everett said she is representing some clients who bought units and are now trying to sell. She said she had been inside of one of the towers Friday morning and that most of the units seemed complete. She said she thought the developers were just putting finishing touches on some units, such as paint.

At the peak of the housing boom, more than two dozen condominiums were planned for in and around downtown Tampa. A handful of the condos have opened and some other developers have either stalled or canceled projects.

Everett said she had been concerned about the flood of condo developments in the Channel District and wondered whether there would be enough buyers to fill the units. Condos that she's selling in other areas of downtown are doing better, she said.

"I've been through other downturns," she said. "This is my fourth downturn. I saw what was going to happen down there."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Get your drink on at Skypoint

Skypoint's developer, Novare, is requesting wet zoning for all the retail units on the first floor of Skypoint. Makes you wonder what they are planning for- a restaurant, liquor store, lounge/nightclub on all 4 corners? They'll go in front of City Council Dec 6.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Also on Franklin ave...

SP Times: Old theater may live anew as private club


For more than three decades, it was a machinery factory. For the past year and a half, it has sat empty.

But the Rialto theater, built in 1926, may soon come alive. A group of Clearwater investors has a vision: a private members-only lounge and entertainment venue called Print.

Mark Smith, John Schaible and Josef Schaible filed a wet-zoning application with the city on Aug. 13 but declined an interview with the Times, saying the property is still under negotiation.

But the wet-zoning application offers some insight. Investors want to buy the Rialto and adjacent buildings - a span from 1613 to 1631 N Franklin St. - for $1.7-million and renovate them for $1.3-million.

They'll operate Print in the 10,000-square-foot theater space, the application says. Memberships will include "individual male and female, couples and corporate." The concept will "create an environment of like-minded people for the purpose of business networking and personal entertainment."

It's not clear what type of entertainment Print will offer, but the lounge will have public, private and semiprivate spaces; a fully operational stage for live performances and corporate presentations; a mezzanine with private rooms and public catwalks; and a rooftop deck, the application says.

The club is projected to operate Thursdays through Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. as a bottle service bar, where members who do not finish their bottles can store them for their next visit.

The entertainment venue will be rented to members and the public Sundays through Wednesdays.

The other buildings, with 20,000 square feet, will be converted into a 100-car indoor valet parking garage.

"The renovation of the Rialto theater and its adjacent buildings will be a much-needed face-lift for the neighborhood, breathing life and vitality into a space that has long been ignored," the application says. "Print will serve as an anchor for future business development and expansion in the neighborhood by introducing elite clientele to the area."

The Tampa Heights Civic Association has not taken an official position for or against Print, but members will discuss the project at their board meeting next week.

The wet-zoning application is scheduled to go before the City Council on Oct. 18.

Fast facts

Zoning request

The City Council will hear the wet-zoning application for Print, a proposed private club, during a meeting Oct. 18 in the council chambers, City Hall, 315 E Kennedy Blvd.

Herman Massey Park to re-open....eventually

This park was closed so that the developers of the Residences of Franklin could use it as a stagging area...I wonder how much the city received in fees for this?

St Pete Times: Residents and business owners will soon have their say in redesigning a downtown park mired in controversy when the city closed it two years ago.

Herman Massey Park shut down in August 2005 so that contractors for the Residences of Franklin Street condominiums could use it as a staging area for equipment.

Just before it went offline, Massey Park made news when police arrested several people there for feeding the homeless. Officers charged them with violating a city ordinance that prohibited serving food without a permit.

A chain link fence soon went up as developers began work on the Residences of Franklin Street, displacing homeless people who regularly used the park.

As construction wrapped up on the condo tower, equipment went away and residents moved in.

But the public park, at N Franklin and E Tyler streets, remained closed.

The first steps in reopening Massey Park should begin this month, said Linda Carlo, spokeswoman for Tampa's Parks and Recreation Department.

The city will assess the park and take inventory of what's there.

A meeting will then take place with "stakeholders," Carlo said - nearby residents and business owners.

"We will go to the public and say, here's what we know about the park," Carlo said. "Then we'll ask, what are you thinking?' What do you need?What are your desires for the park?'"

Carlo said the city plans to design several concepts for the park based on public opinion, which parks officials plan to solicit in coming weeks.

The city is trying to figure out a convenient time and place to hold a public meeting, which she expects about 30 to 40 people to attend.

Carlo said it's too early in the planning process to say when Massey Park will officially reopen.

Mayor Pam Iorio announced last month that the city will spend $1-million on the renovations.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Channelside LEEDs tower

Key Developers brought a much anticipate green project to city council for rezoning tonight. Located at Kennedy and Meridian, the building will be LEED certified, which involves efficient water and energy use. In exchange for the certification, they received huge height and density concessions. There was dissension primarily from the adjacent project, The Slade which will be impacted on 2 sides by the 7 story parking garage- site plan below, Key Dev project in grey. The project looks great and was approved by city council. On a side note: Is WilsonMiller in every developers payroll? and why have the become the de facto authority on urban architecture.

Friday, June 08, 2007

New Museum Design Delights, But Board's Leaders Disappoint

This is complete nonsense...why is this lady still chair after so many years? Maybe she should stick to playing golf and leave the fundraising and leadership of the museum to someone else.

TBO-Just when you want to get excited about a new design for the Tampa Museum of Art comes a signal that the project might not get built as rendered.
Turns out the museum's board has failed to continue fundraising for the new building, which is expected to cost about $33 million. The city's $17.5 million contribution is the bulk of what's available for construction.
Problem is that by the end of the month, architect Stanley Saitowitz needs to know the financial parameters so that he can begin construction drawings for a December groundbreaking. Before he begins, he needs a firm dollar figure so that Tampa doesn't end up with another set of drawings too expensive to build.
TMA chairwoman Cornelia Corbett, who has led the board through several false starts for a new facility, says "we're only going to build what we can afford." If the private funds aren't raised, she says some segments will be eliminated from the design. She's confident, however, that the money will be secured.
Here we go again.
The board's leadership has once again put members behind the eight-ball in fundraising, this time creating a mad dash to raise $15 million by the end of the month. Millions more also are needed for the endowment to run the place.
The failure to aggressively raise funds sends a terrible message to taxpayers, who are putting up the lion's share of the money.
The failure also clarifies the need for new leadership on the museum board.
Corbett is a good citizen who has devoted herself to building a new art museum. But the ill will that oozes from her and other board leaders toward city government has clouded their effectiveness. No bigger challenge faces this board than raising the money to build a new museum, yet three weeks before a key deadline, the campaign is just getting started.
Corbett says that once ground is broken in December, it will be easier to raise money. She adds, a bit haughtily, that some people won't donate money unless the city grants the museum autonomy.
If that's the attitude she exudes toward private donors, it's no wonder that fundraising has barely gotten off the ground under her stewardship. If this board wants shovels in the ground before it seeks donations, the facility won't look anything like the exciting design recently unveiled.
Corbett was badly bruised after the failed attempt to build a big, flashy facility designed by architect Rafael Vinoly. She blames Mayor Pam Iorio for changing the rules along the way. The mayor wanted to see a financial plan that ensured the museum wouldn't return hat in hand, and the board was unable to deliver.
In that fundraising campaign, board members raised close to $31 million for construction costs, $9 million in pledges for possible overruns in operating expenses and $17 million for possible construction overruns.
Yet this time, Corbett won't even commit to raising $15 million, less than half the project's cost.
Clearly, someone with new energy, new enthusiasm and a fresh attitude could better lead the campaign.
The exact cost of the proposed 68,000-square-foot facility is currently being worked up. So, too, are plans for a "slightly smaller" facility, Corbett said.
If donors are skeptical about the project - and who can blame them? - the board should look no further than its leaders.
A lot of other folks are skeptical, too.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Skypoint Art

The folks over at Skypoint recently installed the first dynamic art work display in downtown Tampa in quite some time..... The lights change in color scheme throughout the night- a nice addition to the building and the Arts District. I wonder who will get more views, this display or exhibitions at the art museum?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Del Villar

Here are some snaps of the Del Villar project Channelside and Kennedy...much better looking project than Grand Central Kennedy, also by the same developer. That detached yellow object is the mechanical garage, similar to what we heard from the guy at Four Green Fields. The developer explains that future owners of this project will be able to rent space out in this garage, any income generated would be used to lower their monthly HOA dues.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Element has Financing

The Tampa Tribune:TAMPA - One condo at a time, downtown's Franklin Street corridor is growing a skyline.The developer of the SkyPoint high-rise, under construction on Ashley Drive, said Tuesday it has secured financing and started construction on another tower nearby.The 34-story Element is to have 395 condo units and 15,500 square feet of retail space on the ground level. The developers would not release the tower's estimated cost.Even as homebuyers' appetite for condos appears to wane, Greg Minder of Novare-intown Tampa Development LLC said the company sees a demand in midlevel price ranges.Many of the condos proposed for downtown Tampa are priced from $600,000 to more than $1 million. Units in Element are expected to start in the low $200s and top out around the $600s. "We've seen the demand with SkyPoint," Minder said. "We believe in this market."The development partnership, Novare Group of Atlanta and intowngroup of Tampa, plans to finish the SkyPoint condo in the spring. Unitsthere started in the $170s. The tower is 99 percent sold out, the developer said.The developers also recently announced plans to build Twelve, a 47-story condo and hotel next to the Element site. Element and Twelve are to be built on two parcels the developers bought last year from TECO Energy, north of the SkyPoint Tower along Polk and Cass streets.While lending institutions generally require substantial pre-sales before they will grant developers a construction loan, Minder said his company is able to get financing before selling because "we have a good track record." It's easier to sell units once financing is in place, he said, because buyers can be more confident that the development will happen.The lenders on the Element are Corus Bank of Chicago and ArCap Finance Corp. of Irving, Texas. At one time, more than 30 condo projects were proposed for downtown Tampa, but several developers changed their minds.Reporter Shannon Behnken can be reached at (813) 259-7804 at

Monday, January 01, 2007

Sales stats

Coming Attractions Filling Skyline

TBO- CHANNEL DISTRICT - As a wrap-up to 2006 in this booming neighborhood, the city council approved three residential projects: the 21-story Navio; the 29-story Novare-Intown development; and the 25-story Kennedy Residences of Channelside.

The trio will further change the face of the Channel District, a warehouse area serving the nearby Port of Tampa a mere five years ago.

Projects completed or under construction represent 1,657 residences, said Michael Chen, manager of the district's Community Redevelopment Area. Projects approved but not under construction, he said, could add 2,875 residential units.

Don't look for construction workers and giant cranes to be gone for at least 10 years.

Add all that to a population estimated at 100 to 200 and the Channel District will metamorphose into an urban core like none other in the Tampa Bay area.

The growth has brought a big pain: no parking. But Chen said most of the high-rises slated to open in 2007 will have internal parking for residents and visitors.

Arbel pulls plug on highrise

Arbel recently withdrew it's petiton to rezone the property adjacent to the Floridian.

The project, which would have been 459 feet tall, needed city council approval because the height limit in the area is 120 feet.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Skypoint Tops Out?

Skypoint has what looks to be a unwrapped Chritmas tree on the top floor(right). Sounds like there should be a topping out party coming up! Here's a pic from the webcam....

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Verano or Invierno

The much hyped project in Hyde Park "Verano" will not be built - instead the plan is to build an office complex... This was a good project but the timing was off.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tampa's condo market softens

We already knew that most of the projects in this St Pete Times article weren't going to happen, but I never though Wood Partners would be on the list. They demolished the Maas Bros building (adj pic) and were supposed to build reasonably priced units (200k-450k) I heard they were even thinking about making half the building rentals. Intersting how the market has demolished their hopes of building...

Wood Partners, the Atlanta team behind a condo tower on Kennedy Boulevard, have canceled contracts with 30 buyers and are seeking a new way to finance their project. Their plans to build a 32-story condo tower on the site of the old Maas Brothers building, which has been demolished, are on hold indefinitely

will SimDag shelve TTT???
SimDag bagged its plans for the 280-unit Plaza at Channelside and is looking for a hotel chain to partner with on the site.

Doran Jason group has owned the Kress for over a decade- they were clearly over their he meantime the bldg sits and rots...can anyone say Maas Bros part II....

Jeanette Jason was part of a group that planned to build three high-rises with nearly 1,000 units on the block occupied by the old Kress department store. The property is now for sale. "A lot of banks aren't touching condo projects at this point," Jason said.

Every project approved last week by City Council and most of those already announced in downtown are moderately priced- ie. Element. We should know relatively soon whether or not this statement is correct...

There's still a market for condos priced below $500,000 a unit, he said. "I wouldn't want to be selling $1-million units right now, but the moderately priced stuff, my thinking is going to do just fine," he said.

here is a great quote from one of the developers...
"Five years from now, the discussion is going to be about all those $700,000 and $800,000 condos downtown that you can buy for $300,000," he said.

some hope...
Meanwhile, those with projects in the planning stages are waiting for the price of construction materials to level off so they can build reasonably priced units to attract the young professionals who are most likely to be interested in urban living.
Even if the boom has ended, developers don't believe downtown is a total bust. Most see the change in the real estate market as a correction that will result in condos being built at a slower pace and bought by people who will actually live in them instead of investors.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tampa Palms Condo - Going Once....twice....

Do I hear $50,000?
The auction is scheduled to begin at 10 am on Dec. 9 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 2900 Bayport Drive, with registration beginning at 8 a.m.

TBO- TAMPA - More than a year after launching one of the area's most expensive condo conversions, Bay Communities is trying a novel approach to unload its unsold units at The Hamptons in Tampa Palms.
The developer will sell 100 condominiums on Dec. 9 at a public auction, 40 condos will be sold "absolute" - awarded to the highest bidder with no minimum bid (15 three-bedrooms, 20 two-bedroom and 5 one-bedroom)
With 13 condo conversions in one year, most New Tampa developers gave up and started leasing the units again. The Hamptons has 315 units, and they were the priciest conversions in New Tampa, with a three-bedroom garage unit listed for $309,900. As of this summer, Bay Communities had sold just 70 units.
The developer owes the county $1 million in back taxes. The Tampa Palms Owners Association also has a lien on the property for unpaid dues.
"Our intention is to sell these units with a clear title," said Carl Carter, spokesman for J.P. King Auctioneers. "There will be no surprises."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Channelside is moving on up

If this gets built along with Novare's(which should definitely get built) add the Place's point tower and Channelside will go from short and boxy to tall and skinny. Developer Finergy is planning residential condos and a hotel on this site. The 25 floor tower portion will have 5 units per floor. There will also be a plaza facing Kennedy. Architect: Urban City (655 N Franklin)

by the folks who brough you Skypoint

is The latest Novare project to be announced...It will be in the Channelside district - 30 stories, 380 feet with approx 425 units. The original design was much bulkier and did not include as much neighborhood input. The first pic is a model of Channelside, the Novare bldg is in the middle, the bldg with levels. Behind it is a The Place II. Note the large park/green space they've proposed. I'll post more renderings when available.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


The latest proposed development for the Central Business District -50+ floors and 215 units- this a great site and an amazing tower.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Skypoint at 28

Floor #28 that is..... I wanted to provide some pics of Skypoint - Looking good!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Navio anyone?

Sptimes- Channel District residents got a sneak preview of two residential-retail projects planned for their neighborhood.
The Novare/intowngroup partnership last week presented the Channel District Council the latest plans for their yet unnamed development at Washington Street between 11th Street and Meridian Avenue.
The development would have about 29 stories, 425 units and about 11,000 square feet of retail, representatives said.
Included in the project is a small public park. Homeowners' fees would pay for the cost of maintaining the park in perpetuity.
As with other Novare/intowngroup partnerships in Tampa, the units would be marketed as reasonably priced urban housing geared toward young professionals.
In addition, the partnership is building the nearby Meridian Lofts and the SkyPoint condo tower on Ashley Street. Also in the works is the Element high-rise on Franklin Street.
Skye Development and Urban Studio presented a plan for a new development named Navio, which would neighbor the Novare/intowngroup project at Meridian and Whiting Street.
Navio would stand on 0.7 acres, said Richard Zingale of Urban Studio. It's planned for 21 stories, including seven floors of parking, 10 floors of standard-sized units and a few floors with penthouse units.
Zingale said he expected the development would include about 160 units in all and about 260 parking spaces.
Both projects are still in the design and review phase, and no construction dates have been set.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Periodic table of Element

Looks like Mosaic was only a code name...the new Novare project will be called Element...395 units over 400 is underway!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Striking Out On Their Own

This article shows how some people are still banking on the "perceived" equity of their current homes to finance future home purchases...

Their new home is due to be finished next spring.
And if they haven't sold by the time their new house is ready?
That's when things could get dicey, Matt Kinney said. The couple are banking on the equity from their current house to pay for the new one.
"The breaking point is, basically, whenever that house is done, if this one's not sold, we don't move to the new one," Matt Kinney said.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Channelside and the Place

Even though the name doesn't provoke any emotions, The Place II should be a great addition to the Channelside District...Let me know your opinions

Channelside and Seaboard

Here is a rendition of what Channelside will look like if Seaboard Square builds their condo towers and hotel. 4 buildings just north of the Towers of Channelside. The site is comprised of a hotel, apartments and condos.

Update: A few more pics obtained of Seaboard...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

TTT will not go vertical

No contractor, no Financing - I would guess this project may never get off the ground!

Since plans were announced January 2005 for a 600-foot, $220 million tower - which would be Tampa's tallest - the project completion date has been moved several times, and developers parted ways with at least two contractors. Developers acknowledged in February that costs have gone up 50 percent and that they had passed along a $40 million increase to buyers with reservations to acquire units.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Plan To Move Art Museum In Beer Can Nixed

By Ellen Gedalius of The Tampa Tribune
Published: Aug 15, 2006 A plan to move the Tampa Museum of Art into the "beer can" building and cubes is dead.
The new proposal is to build the museum a new building along the Poe parking garage, adjacent to the site of a proposed new Children's Museum.
The city had planned to buy the cubes, at the corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Ashley Drive, for $5.7 million from America's Capital Partners.
The city also had planned to rent part of the cylindrical building. But appraisals for the cylindrical building came in at the $2 million range, City Attorney David Smith said.
That was a deal breaker.
"It's not prudent," Smith said. "It would look very suspect to be spending tax dollars in that matter."
The proposal needs approval of the Tampa Museum of Art board, and parts of the deal also will need city council approval.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Where did C go?

I recently learned that "C" is no longer! I drive by their sales office located in the storefront of One Bayshore and hadn't seen much activity since the launch. It sounds like sales never developed... There are several towers in the pipeline for downtown, these will be of a much lower price point and should materialize....hopefully!

The website is no longer available but this blurb remains on their corporate website

"Sales are under way at C, the latest talk of the town in downtown Tampa. A soaring collection of 144 lavishly modern condominium residences, town homes and stunning penthouses, C is the ultimate in style, scene and multisensory indulgence. Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and the Crescent Resources team officially launched sales recently at an exclusive VIP reception where all the buzz was about C’s distinction in the surge of redevelopment taking place in downtown Tampa. Seductively situated at downtown’s dramatic front door, C puts you in the front row – at the exhilarating, urban edge of everything. Yet above the buzz on the streets, life inside C feels open, simple, calm. Unlike anything Tampa has ever seen. C a new era. C the renaissance."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Kress development has legs...

Looks like the Kress developers still have some life left in them. In a reversal of fortune, City council voted today to not classify the Woolworth and Newberry buildings historic.

"The developer, however, promised to preserve the facades, but did not want to be regulated by the city's Architectural Review Commission, which has a reputation for nitpicking."

"Preservationists had argued that the buildings played a critical role in Tampa's history and should be saved and labeled historic. Historic buildings cannot be significantly altered, except under extreme circumstances."

Here is a picture of the Kress and adjacent buildings...

8/15/2006 Update: Jeanette Jason is looking for another developer to take the Kress of her hands. This was beyond their scope from the beginning.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

As Valley home market cools, emotions heat up

Good article from the Arizona Republic describing "real emotions" not just stats...

"Home prices have become a touchy subject. Builders are discounting speculative homes, and resale prices are flat, or down, in a lot of neighborhoods. Buyers are submitting lowball offers. Even some sellers and their agents are having trouble agreeing how much similar homes in the same neighborhood are worth. Two houses on the same north Valley street, similar in size and age, are for sale. One lists for $749,000 and the other for $775,000. A third house came on the market on the same street a few doors from the other two. The new listing was similar to the others in size and age but priced at $659,000. Reaction: outrage."The neighbors were really mad," said Thomas Stornelli, principal of Global Network of Homes in Scottsdale. "They knocked on the door and asked, 'What are you thinking?' For a lot of people, their home equity is their bank. It's like taking money out of someone's bank, their retirement account. People (future buyers) are going to use that house as a comp, even if it doesn't have the same upgrades. It's going to leave a mark."The owners of the least- expensive home were equally upset. They were in the midst of a corporate relocation and wanted to sell quickly. Suddenly, angry neighbors were confronting them. One night, someone tore down their for-sale sign. "

A woman walked into Barry's Realty Executives office about nine weeks ago, sat down and began crying. She said she bought two houses last year, fixed them up and quickly sold them, making a $50,000 profit on each.She was a novice investor, but it all looked easy. She took her profits, threw in some extra money and bought five more houses. She spent money fixing them up, but when she put the houses on the market, she realized she had bought at the peak, Barry said."Her eyes just started to well up, and she just started bawling," Barry said. "She said she couldn't sell them for what she bought them for. She said her monthly payments were about $20,000."Barry suggested turning them into rentals. She told him she couldn't get enough rent to make it worthwhile. "She was expecting to flip them," he said. "The market flipped her. She was devastated. People have forgotten that houses are not a liquid asset. They never were meant to be."

Developers Nix or Delay Condo Projects

More signs that real estate and in particular the condo sector is in a funk....

"In South Florida, canceled condo developments include 1390 Brickell Bay and ICE in Miami, Fort Lauderdale's The Waves Las Olas, and Promenade in Palm Beach County. WCI Communities Inc., a luxury home builder based in Bonita Springs, Fla., said in June that new orders for its high-rise condominiums fell by 84 percent in the second quarter. The company will now go forward with only three to five condo projects in 2006, down from as many as 15 to 17, mostly in Florida"

"The sweet spot of the market is probably $250,000 to $700,000," Domb said. "That's what the majority of the population can afford. Many condos are priced higher. That's part of the problem."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

the BLVD

Here are some pictures of the model displayed at the Boulevard condos sales office. Developer is Wood partners who is also working on the downtown 33 story "Six Ten" - site of the Maas Bros dept store.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Channel District taking shape

Article in TBO talking about the "second wave" projects at Channelside (Ventana, the Place, the Towers and Grand Central). All are expected to open in 2007 but Grand Central is looking at moving people in by end of year. What I found interesting was that Ventana was ONLY 75% sold. Surely, I thought it would've been 100% by now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Novare's Formula

Article talks about what Novare did for Midtown, Atlanta and how they plan to transform downtown Tampa.