Harbour Island is a bit of a mystery to anyone who does not live there. You have to cross one of two bridges — after fighting through downtown traffic — to access it. From the outside, it might look like condos and apartments are the only option. And what goes on behind those gates?
In reality, only about half of the island’s residences are behind a gate, and they range from apartments to penthouses to single-family homes. To help demystify Harbour Island, we asked Smith & Associates Realtor Traci Burns to tell us about the five communities that best exemplify life on Harbour Island. In addition to being an island resident, Burns began her career with the Beneficial Corporation, the developer of Harbour Island, and has been selling the island since its founding in the 1980s. “[The neighborhoods] Seddon Cove and Harbour Court were under construction when I came to the island, but the rest of it, I have seen literally every bit of dirt turned on the island,” Burns says.
Made up of 72 condominiums spread across four buildings, Seddon Cove was Harbour Island’s first residential community.
“The exteriors, in my opinion, are timeless,” Burns says.
Each building features brick exteriors and copper roofs. Inside, residences have views of the adjacent Seddon Channel, and those on the building’s upper floors are two-story penthouses, giving the units more of a townhome-type feel.
“What’s nice about this particular area, when we think about condos in the overall marketplace, is you’ve got a lot of green space,” Burns says. “It’s the least dense area on Harbour Island, with grassy areas, big trees and ponds. In my opinion, there’s just not another condominium in the South Tampa [or] Bayshore area that offers what Seddon Cove has to offer.”
Seddon Cove Way | Tampa, FL 33602
Burns calls this tower one of the island’s most “distinctive” buildings, both in its design and exclusivity. On the northeast edge of the island, The Garrison features just 12 condominiums. Floors two and three have two units each, while floors four through 10 have just one unit per level. The penthouse is on the second-highest floor, with the top level reserved for a community room, fitness center and roof terrace. In addition to private elevators to their units, residents also receive a private two-car garage.
“There aren’t many Harbour Islands anywhere in the country, that are contiguous to a downtown business district, master planned, gated, secure and surrounded by water,” Burns says. “Where else does that exist?”
600 Garrison Cove Lane | Tampa, FL 33602
The Grandview (pictured above)
Completed in 2003, The Grandview helped kick off the development of Harbour Island beyond the gates. Located along the waterfront walkway that lines the island’s northern and western edge, the 64-unit condo building was soon joined by the Post Harbour Place apartments, Parkcrest Harbour Island and the Plaza. More than a decade later, the apartment buildings 500 Harbour Island and Olympus were built on the island’s last parcels of land and were both recently sold for record-breaking prices. “[Those sales] illustrate the demand for downtown living,” Burns says. But The Grandview, with the island’s best views of the downtown skyline, was the neighborhood’s original go-to for urban living.
371 Channelside Walkway | Tampa, FL 33602
Beneficial Corporation’s original development plan for Harbour Island called for approximately 4,650 residences — exclusively condos. “It was a very forward-thinking vision, and Tampa was not growing at that pace,” Burns says.
The plan was retooled, and in 1991, the island’s first single-family homes were completed. Each property in Island Homes features a Spanish-style interior courtyard between the front gate and front door, with a pool and landscaped yard area. About half of the neighborhood’s homes are on the channel and feature waterfront pools.
The residences of Island Homes have attracted big names in Tampa Bay sports, including former MLB star Gary Sheffield and John Lynch, who won a Super Bowl as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. They appreciate the privacy afforded by single-family living and the neighborhood’s proximity to downtown amenities.
Anchorage Road | Tampa, FL 33602
Perhaps the most unique neighborhood on Harbour Island, The Keys is made up of 35 colorful townhomes that look as if they were plucked from the streets of Key West and placed in Downtown Tampa. Burns says most of the island’s townhomes are designed more like traditional homes than the typical townhome — more square or rectangular in shape, rather than straight up and down — including the homes in the Keys. “I refer to these as little cottages,” nodding to the second-floor balconies on the front of the homes, plus the front and back porches. While the boat slips for residents who live behind the island’s gates are located on the opposite side of the development from The Keys, any property-owning resident can use a slip, pending availability.