Developer Plans $200 Million Towers for Downtown St. Petersburg, Fla.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla -- A proposed $200 million hotel-office-condominium project would include the city's tallest building if approved by city and federal officials.

Plans for Tropicana Center submitted by developers Jimmy Aviram and Tibor Hollo call for two towers to be built atop an 840-vehicle parking garage. The project also would feature two pools set seven stories above Central Avenue.

A 24-story hotel would rise along Second Street North and a 42-story office and residential tower would rise 450 feet above First Avenue North, according to a site plan review application submitted to the city's Environmental Development Commission.

The city's tallest structure is the 28 story, 385-foot Bank of America Tower, according to real estate management company ANB Enterprises.

The Tropicana project -- so identified because the block was once the site of the Tropicana Place hotel -- would feature 108,000 square feet of retail space on its first and second levels with stores fronting on surrounding streets and an interior mall with a central atrium.

The proposed hotel tower would have 13 floors of rooms, eight floors of suites and three floors of penthouse accommodations totaling 234,922 square feet.

A "plaza level," with a fitness center, meeting rooms and a restaurant would anchor the mixed-use office and residential tower.

The tower's first 13 stories would house 247,168 square feet of office space.

An additional 19 floors of condos would be topped with three floors of penthouse units for a total residential area of 376,784 feet.

Condominiums, which are expected to range between 950 and 2,000 square feet, are expected to be priced starting at about $350,000, according to sales information provided by Hollo. Penthouse units, which are expected to feature 3,500 square feet, are expected to be priced starting at about $1.4 million.

Hollo, of Miami, said that the developers hope to start construction in early 2006 and expect the project to take two years to complete.

A hearing on the proposal likely will be scheduled early next year, said city Zoning Official John Hixenbaugh.

Preliminary plans were submitted Oct. 27, one day before a special exemption from the city's transportation impact fees expired for the downtown area, including the Tropicana block where the city is encouraging redevelopment, Hixenbaugh said.

Because of the site's proximity to Albert Whitted Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration will have to approve the height of the proposed project.

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