The secret’s out: Luxury condominiums just might be the best way to live it up in the Tampa Bay area. A surge of high-end high-rise condos in the pipeline are proving that supply is not keeping up with rapidly rising demand as more people flock to one of the most desirable regions to live in.
What is it about luxury condo living that’s just so irresistible here? The unobstructed water views and proximity to increasingly vibrant downtowns in Tampa and St. Petersburg are magnetic, of course. Add in the extravagant building amenities and services (spa, wine room, 24/7 concierge) and the incredibly spacious units (penthouses nearing 6,000 square feet with 10-foot ceilings) and it starts to feel like you really can have it all with little to no upkeep.
“People lead busy lives today,” realtor Liz Heinkel, with Smith & Associates, says. “Condo living is convenient and easy.”
Just prepare to pay —with condos outpricing houses in Tampa and St. Pete in the last three to four years. Case in point: On the lower end, one-bedroom condos start in the $700,000s at Orange Station in St. Pete. As for the highest local condo sale on record, a four-bedroom unit went for $8 million at the Tampa Edition in July 2022. From successful young professionals to seasoned CEOs to retirees, from singles to couples to families – you’ll find the gamut buying Tampa Bay’s luxury condos, local realtors note.
“It’s an effortless lifestyle,” realtor Stephen Gay, with the Stephen Gay Group, notes. “Luxury condos really treat owners as VIPs. And to get the water views, you have to live in a condo.”
There has been an exponential increase in luxury condo buildings popping up in the Tampa Bay area. On the horizon, nine new condo towers are anticipated to be built by 2026—four in Tampa and five in St. Pete.
There’s also a trend toward increased unit sizes so residents don’t have to sacrifice space compared with single-family homes, with newer options generally coming in the 2,000-3,000 square-foot range. Another trend is that more turnkey (fully furnished and equipped) condos are becoming available to make the transition easier than ever from purchase to move-in, mainly for second residences, Heinkel notes.
Julie Mastry moved into her first condo in 2011, Signature Place in Downtown St. Pete. She rented for a year to test the waters and was hooked.
The Belize native has since purchased at Parkshore Plaza, Water Club and a couple of years ago, a two-bedroom unit on the eighth floor at One St. Petersburg on 1st Avenue. It’s currently the tallest building in the city at 41 stories with 253 units.
“I love the downtown vibe and the convenience of One,” she shares. “It’s a beautiful building, the amenities are great and you feel like you’re on vacation all the time. It truly is resort-type living.”
Mastry entertains her grandson at game rooms, gym, pool, grill and cabanas. Also, she enjoys taking in the energizing sights and sounds of downtown from her balcony, such as listening to music from Jannus Live and catching a glimpse of Grand Prix races and Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer games.
A half mile north of One is Bliss, an 18-story condo tower with 30 units on 4th Avenue NE— where residents Lisa Wannemacher and Peter Kageyama couldn’t agree more with the joys of condo living.
Wannemacher moved into her three-bedroom, 16th-floor unit at Bliss in 2017 from Parkshore Plaza on the same block. With two units per floor, each Bliss unit has views in three directions and no shared walls. She has 40 feet of floor-to-ceiling glass from one corner to the other and can see the Sunshine Skyway and the Vinoy at the same time in her open-concept unit where the living room, dining room, kitchen and den all flow without interruption. They enjoy the gym and hot tub on the rooftop at Bliss, as well as walking to the museums, restaurants, farmers market and special events.
“There’s something so remarkable about living downtown and having such immediate access to the goods, services, nightlife, entertainment and activity here,” Wannemacher says.
The Ohio natives even tied the knot nearby at The Birchwood, getting ready at home and walking a block to and from their wedding and reception. Wannemacher, the founder of Wannemacher Jensen Architects, is partially retired. Kageyama is an author who writes from home while enjoying the Bay view and local coffee shops within walking distance. They plan to move into the 21st floor of The Nolen next year, also on the same block, where they’ll have more space (a total of 3,400 square feet) and Kageyama will have his own writing nook and library. Neither of them miss single-family home days with lawns that needed mowing and roofs that required repairs.
“Condo living is stress-free,” Wannemacher notes. “It gives you more freedom to travel and there is a level of ease that I personally really enjoy. It’s a more simple life and the access to the variety of amenities is wonderful.”
Over in Downtown Tampa, Sean Fetcho has been living it up at the Tampa Edition, Tampa Bay’s first five-star hotel and residences, since getting his key in August 2022. The founder and CEO of global healthcare company Verséa is moving the company’s office just a few blocks away. After spending 18 years in luxury condos in New York, Fetcho was excited to see Tampa get this hotel-branded experience that he has enjoyed at other Editions around the country as a hotel guest.
Fetcho and his fiancée added a pool table and lavish bar to their two-bedroom unit, also creating a music space for several of his instruments. They have a panoramic view of the city skyline and the water. They love the spa services, rooftop pool and high-end restaurants onsite helmed by a Michelin-starred chef, as well as walking to downtown bars, restaurants and Lightning games and concerts at the Amalie Arena across the street, and strolling along the Tampa Riverwalk.
“I really enjoy walking out and being in the heart of everything quickly,” Fetcho shares.
In 2015, Fetcho moved from New York into a single-family home in Tampa’s suburbs and he’s still planning to keep it and live there part-time — for now.
“There’s no doubt that people are getting tired dealing with the maintenance of the house and yard work, especially in Florida,” he says. “On top of that, with luxury condo buildings if something goes wrong, they have somebody up there immediately within the hour.”
Tampa and St. Pete’s skylines will continue to become more dense as new luxury condos emerge, making the high life possible for even more happy residents.
Condos On The Horizon
There’s been a condo frenzy in the Tampa Bay area. Here are some of the high-rise condominium towers on deck to grace the skylines of Tampa and St. Petersburg in the not-so-distant future.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Tampa: On Bayshore Boulevard, two towers with 100 units—each starting at about $1.5 million—plan to open this November. The first tower is sold out with sales open for the second one. The team includes developer Related Group, manager of the Ritz, architect Arquitectonica and interior designer Meyer Davis.
Pendry Residences Tampa: Along the Tampa Riverwalk downtown, a 38-story tower with 207 units and 220 hotel rooms are under construction with plans to open in 2026. The team includes developer Two Roads Development, manager Pendry/Montage Hotels & Resorts, architect Arquitectonica and interior designer Studio Munge.
One Tampa: In Downtown Tampa, a 42-story tower with 225 units starting in the $800,000s is planned to begin construction this year with completion expected in 2026. The team includes developer Kolter Urban and architect Adache Group Architects.
Aqua: In South Tampa’s Westshore Yacht Club, three 15-story towers with 230 units starting in the mid-$1 millions and 26 townhomes are planned with sales beginning this year. The team includes developer Westshore Group LLC, architect Curts Gaines Hall Jones Architects and interior designer IDDI.
Other condo towers in the works include two unnamed projects by Related Group: one along the Tampa Riverwalk, and one on Bayshore Boulevard on a portion of Congregation Rodeph Sholom’s property under contract to close in early 2024.
Saltaire: In Downtown St. Pete, a 35-story tower with 192 units starting at around $850,000 is sold out. Construction started in 2020 and is anticipated to be completed by this summer. The team includes developer Kolter Urban, architect SB Architects and interior designer The Decorators Unlimited.
Art House: In Downtown St. Pete, a 42-story tower with 244 units starting at $1 million, began construction in June and is expected to be completed in 2025. The team includes developer Kolter Group, architect SB Architects and interior designer IDDI.
The Nolen: In Downtown St. Pete, a 23-story boutique tower with 31 units starting just under $2 million is under construction with completion anticipated in 2024. The team includes developers DDA Development and Backstreets Capital, architect Place and interior designer Melissa Kelly Design Studio.
The Residences at Orange Station: In downtown’s Edge District, a 16-story tower with 61 units starting from the $700,000s is part of a multi-building mixed-use project with offices, apartments and retail. Sales have already started and construction is expected to be completed in 2024. The team includes developers DDA Development, J Square Developers and Backstreets Capital, architect Place Architecture and interior designer Melissa Kelly Design Studio.
The Residences at 400 Central: On downtown’s Central Avenue, a 46-story tower with 300 units starting in the $900,000s is under construction with plans for completion in late 2024 or early 2025. It’s anticipated to be the tallest residential building on Florida’s West Coast, touting a top-floor observatory. The team includes Red Apple Group/Real Estate, architect Arquitectonica and interior designer Celano Design Studio.
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