05/26/17 Real Estate
TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.
WCI, Lennar Corp.'s high-end subsidiary, paid $2.5 million for the land on which it will build 35 townhomes. They will be adjacent to the 396 rental apartments planned by the Related Group.
The townhome project "will be the first for-sale offering, and with the WCI brand it indicates a level of product that we think is a great benefit to the site," said Beck Daniel, an executive of BTI Partners, master developer of Westshore Marina District. "This is the first thing that the retail buyer can look at and say, 'This is an opportunity for us to buy.'" ...
HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.
Named after the popular Jamaican marine artist and conservationist, the Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Community Tarpon Springs has begun taking reservations for lots and upscale cottages just north of the Pinellas-Pasco county line where the Anclote River empties into the Gulf of Mexico....
05/25/17 Real Estate
NEW PORT RICHEY — The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis.
The justices accepted the recommendation of a court-appointed referee, who found that Kalogianis was "drenched in deceitful motive" in his dealings with 74-year-old Jacqueline Drury.
Kalogianis, who turns 54 on Saturday, still faces felony criminal charges for allegedly altering mortgage foreclosure records to benefit homeowners he represented....
05/25/17 Real Estate
PLANT CITY — Once again, the FBI is investigating felon fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao.
On Wednesday, two agents interviewed Pastor Minnie Wright, who says Clavizzao scammed her and her Plant City church out of nearly $20,000 while he was still on probation from a mortgage fraud conviction. The agents' visit came four days after the Tampa Bay Times published a story about Wright's experience with Clavizzao and what turned out to be a phony loan company....
05/24/17 Real Estate
Sales of Tampa Bay homes dropped in April but prices surged yet again as Florida's real estate market continued to be defined by tight supply and high demand.
Compared to the same month last year, the median price for a single family home rose 12.5 percent here, the most of any major metro area in the state.
But despite that increase and Tampa Bay's most expensive residential sale ever — $11.18 million for Clearwater's Century Oaks estate — there was a hint that the pace of price growth may be slowing just a bit. ...
05/18/17 Real Estate
PLANT CITY — Every Sunday morning, members of the New Testament Outreach Holiness Church #2 gather for services in a strip shopping center on the outskirts of town. They sit in neat rows, facing a raised dais and a pulpit bedecked with flowers.
It looks like a church, but it is not a real church building, the kind that Pastors Minnie and Sam Wright have long dreamed of having in order to spread their ministry and help more of the needy. ...
05/17/17 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — When a developer announced plans for the 18-story Bliss condo tower in downtown St. Petersburg in 2014, some owners in nearby Parkshore Plaza weren't happy about it.
Bliss would block their superb water views, they grumbled.
Now Bliss is finished, and some of its residents are about to lose their water views.
Peter Rudy Wallace, former Speaker of the Florida House, plans a five story, four-unit condo building on a parcel he bought four years ago just east of where Bliss now stands at 176 4th Ave. NE. The project could start construction this year....
05/12/17 Real Estate
For first- time homebuyers, you can't beat the Orlando and Tampa Bay areas.
Despite steadily rising prices, both are relatively affordable compared to the West Coast and Northeast at a time when nearly half of all buyers are first-timers, a new Zillow report says.
As millennials — those in the 18-34 age group — "reach the typical home buying age, they are coming into a tough housing market with low inventory and lots of competition," said Svenja Gudell, Zillow's chief economist. "More challenging metro areas aren't out of reach for new buyers, but they should be prepared to face a more competitive buying environment." ...
05/11/17 Real Estate
When Brian Davison announced plans to build up to 78 new condos in downtown St. Petersburg, he revealed another surprise: His company, EquiAlt, plans to "self-finance'' the project.
That could be a smart move. Both nationally and in the Tampa Bay area, businesses are finding it harder to get money from banks these days.
No one is saying that bay area's building boom is about to screech to a halt. But borrowers for many types of projects — especially new hotels, apartments and retail outlets — can expect to pay higher interest rates, put more of their own money into the project, or both. ...
05/08/17 Real Estate
TAMPA — Gritty industrial activity could give way to more condos, apartments and townhomes as yet another prime waterfront tract in Tampa hits the market.
Tampa-based Viper Ventures is selling Rattlesnake Point, nearly 31 acres on a peninsula that lies south of Gandy Boulevard and close to the Westshore Marina District master planned community.
With unobstructed views of Old Tampa Bay, the property most likely would be redeveloped for multi-family housing with space for a restaurant, shops and a hotel....
05/05/17 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — A Tampa company that got its start in the arcane business of bidding on tax deeds is embarking on its first condo project — two buildings in downtown St. Petersburg with a total of up to 78 units.
The condos will replace several old houses at Third Avenue S and Fifth Street in an area that has seen an explosion of apartment construction in the past few years. Brian Davison, CEO of EquiAlt, said all of the condos will have three bedrooms because there are relatively few new rentals with that many....
05/05/17 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — More than 75,000 times, viewers in China have clicked on the website of a company touting investment opportunities overseas. And one of the best places Chinese citizens can put their money, the company says, is St. Petersburg, Florida.
Beijing-based Meiaoju lauds St. Petersburg as "A Gourmet Paradise by the Sea" — several Beach Drive restaurants are prominently featured — and calls it a seller's market where multiple buyers compete for available homes....
05/03/17 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — If mortgage fraud had a face during Tampa Bay's last housing boom, it could have been that of Victor Thomas Clavizzao.
A loan broker with a felony rap sheet, Clavizzao drew attention not only because of his hard-to-forget name but also for the brazen way in which he conned banks, Realtors and even some of his own relatives. In 2009, a federal judge sentenced Clavizzao to five years in prison for conspiring to fraudulently obtain nearly $6 million in mortgage loans. ...
05/03/17 Real Estate
Despite a robust real estate market, only 10 percent of Tampa Bay homes have rebounded to their pre-recession peak value, a new report says.
The findings by Trulia, an online real estate database, reinforce those of another recent study. That one found that while Tampa Bay home sellers are enjoying the largest price gains in 10 years, the gains are less than half of what they were in the bubble days of the mid 2000s....
Worried that Tampa Bay’s housing market is getting overheated again? Consider this — the average gain on a home sale today is less than half of what it was during the boom.
That’s the finding of a new analysis out today that shows just how frothy the real estate market got in the mid 2000s and how much sellers lost when it crashed.
Tampa Bay homeowners who sold in the first three months of this year realized an average gain of $30,100 over what they originally paid, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, the parent company of RealtyTrac. ...