New year, new towers: More apartments to rise in St. Petersburg, Tampa

Miami-based American Land Ventures has acquired the land for this 22-story apartment tower in downtown St.l Petersburg; construction is slated to start in late 2018. [Rendering courtesy of American Land Ventures]

ST. PETERSBURG — Buoyed by the success of its existing downtown apartment tower, a Miami company is moving ahead with plans for another one.

And to the relief of nearby residents, the new tower won’t involve any pile driving.

Jason Robertson, vice president-development of American Land Ventures, said the company closed Wednesday on land on Third Street S across from its AER apartments.

The deed had not been recorded as of Wednesday afternoon and he did not disclose the price. The new, as yet-unnamed tower will have 217 units in 22 stories, making it five stories taller than AER but with 161 fewer units.

AER’s St. Pete complex, which opened in May 2016, "is doing great," Robertson said. "It’s outperforming our pro forma and it’s over 90 percent occupied. We think St. Petersburg is one of the hottest markets in all of Florida and we’re excited about playing off the success we’ve had at AER."

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Robertson said the company has received approvals from the city and plans to start construction late this year on both the St. Petersburg tower and AER Tampa, a 34-story, 272-unit apartment building on Cass Street near the David S. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

Both project sites for AER — which stands for Arts and Entertainment Residences — have had their issues. The Tampa project was first announced in 2013, but concerns about its effect on traffic flow and the center’s performance schedule have delayed groundbreaking.

Meanwhile, residents living near AER in St. Petersburg suffered through months of relentless pile driving. Because AER is so big and just three blocks from Tampa Bay, concrete pilings had to be sunk deep into the earth. That led to pounding six days a week that rattled wine bottles at a nearby liquor store, prompted dozens of complaints to police and even drove some residents out of town during the long, noisy summer of 2014.

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With the new, smaller tower, "we are using a different type of foundation system to avoid the problems we had with driven piles," Robertson said.

The acquisition of land for the latest project comes as apartment construction continues at a frenzied pace in downtown St. Petersburg, with three big buildings either under construction or about to break ground. Robertson said American Land Ventures isn’t worried:

"We see more and more people wanting to move to St. Pete."

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.

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