A well-respected developer from Michigan has unveiled plans to build an 11-story apartment tower just outside of Downtown St. Pete’s trendy EDGE District. DevMar Development is in the process of assembling 1.9 acres of land located at the corner of 16th Street and 1st Avenue North. With the exception of a small car wash, a majority of the land has been sitting vacant for over a decade.
The mixed-use building, dubbed First North Lofts, is a collaboration between Mark DeMaria, CEO of DevMar Development, Jonathan Daou, a local real estate investor, the project’s architects, and local consultants. DeMaria brings over 20 years of multi-family development expertise and Daou contributes his retail experience into this collaborative tailor-made project specifically designed for St. Pete.
The development will be perfectly flanked by two of St. Pete’s most desirable neighborhoods — the EDGE District and the Grand Central District. In either direction, residents will be steps away from hundreds of restaurants, bars, art galleries, and coffee shops.
However, if residents are so inclined, they wouldn’t really have to leave the property. First North Lofts, which DeMaria describes as “an urban resort at an affordable cost”, will provide a wealth of attractive amenities.
The development will include 18,500 SF of ground-floor retail space — more than any residential project currently under construction in Downtown St. Pete. “Once we thought holistically about how people spend their weekdays and weekends, we realized that integrating a big retail component can add to the resident’s local experience and give them convenience,” says Daou. The retail has been specifically designed and populated so that residents can enjoy the shops. There will likely be coworking space and hospitality related businesses, such as cafes, closer to Booker Creek to allow residents to enjoy outdoor space.
The remaining 10 floors will be occupied by 214 apartments. The units will range from studio units at 445 SF to 505 SF, one bedroom units at 595 SF, and two bedroom units at 895 SF to 924 SF, and rooftop penthouse units at 1,310 SF to 1,355 SF.
Affordability and a shift in lifestyle played in to the decision to design smaller units. People are spending more time at their screens or outside. The need for large apartments is less prominent. As a result, over half of the units at First North Lofts will be studios.
The use of modular furniture would allow residents to save space. The studio units could come with fold-down dining tables and convertible bed-to-sofa wall units.
“Instead of larger units, we made more functional common areas for guests to host events and parties or just hang out close to their apartment without having to go somewhere else,” says Daou.
First North Lofts is planning to price some entry studio units at just under $1,000 per month. At the moment, most of the recently constructed apartment communities are marketing studios around $1,300.
The interior of the units will pay homage to America’s industrial past. Each unit will enjoy high ceilings and oversized windows coupled with contemporary amenities and an industrial aesthetic including exposed mechanical systems, exposed concrete ceilings, and sealed concrete floors. Additionally, all units will be equipped with in-unit kitchens, appliances, and washers/dryers. As many as 50 of the 214 units may come fully furnished as well.
When developing the community amenities, the idea was to provide residents with their very own exclusive, laid-back country club, at almost zero cost. Indoor amenities include a spacious second floor lounge overlooking the freshly landscaped Booker Creek and garden terrace. Residents will also have access to a golf simulator, a bike storage/bike share area, and resident storage facilities. A large package room will accommodate the increased popularity of online shopping and shipping.
On the rooftop overlooking the Downtown St. Pete skyline, there will be a large pool, a fitness center with a pilates/yoga studio, a hot tub/spa room, and changing rooms. A spacious lounge will be positioned off the fitness center lobby that will provide space for residents and their guests to socialize, celebrate and relax while taking in some of the best views of the city.
A four-story parking garage will be constructed on the west end of the development, providing at least 280 covered parking spaces for residents and retail guests. On the north side of the project will be a garden area and terrace integrated into open space along Booker Creek.
Not only will this be DevMar Development’s first project in Florida, it will be their first development outside of Michigan. CEO Mark DeMaria was lured to the area by local real estate investor Jonathan Daou. “I had heard of the great things Jon was accomplishing in the EDGE District. His vision and execution of his plans attracted me,” says DeMaria.
Having since visited St. Pete on numerous occasions, DeMaria has grown to appreciate the Sunshine City and its potential for continued organic growth. “People want to live in walkable cities with ample entertainment, shopping, diversity, local pride of residents and entrepreneurs, beautiful weather and add to that beautiful beaches minutes away.”
First North Lofts is expected to break ground in the first quarter of 2018. Construction is scheduled to take 16 months, which should have residents moving in by summer 2019.