Eric Snider Staff Writer – Tampa Bay Business Journal
An out-of-town developer is set to begin construction this summer on The Hermitage Apartment Homes in downtown St. Petersburg, bolstering the notion that the former retirement haven has become a pretty hip address.
Coral Gables-based Allen Morris Residential cited the desires of urban-living millennials and empty-nesters as a significant reason it closed on two acres of land at 700 1st Ave. S. for $5.25 million in cash.
The Hermitage — named after the renowned art museum in St. Petersburg, Russia — will occupy a full city block. Construction on the $65 million project is slated to begin in July. The eight-story building will include 348 rental apartments, configured as studio, one-, and two-bedroom units, scheduled for occupancy in late 2015.
Allen Morris was attracted to the land’s proximity to the Pinellas Trail, USF St. Petersburg, Tropicana Field, and downtown’s burgeoning office, arts, retail and social scenes.
The company — which during its 56 years in business has done high-profile commercial projects for the likes of AT&T, Bank of America and the Federal Reserve Bank in Miami — launched its residential division in late 2013. The Hermitage is its first major apartment project.
During the planning and acquisition process, CEO Allen Morris and his wife spent a long weekend in St. Petersburg “going to everything,” he said in an interview. “We were taken with the historical architecture of the city, and wanted our building to fit into that environment. Units will have massive windows to accentuate the sunshine and views, which is not something you generally see with apartments.”