By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer
St. Petersburg, Fla.—The Hermitage Apartment Homes, a new luxury apartment community from The Allen Morris Company, has broken ground in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. The 348-unit, eight-story development will fill an entire city block at 750 First Avenue South in the heart of the city’s downtown district.
“As the downtown area evolves, there is a clear need for modern, amenity-rich rental apartments that not only meet current demand, but help define the downtown corridor itself,” The Allen Morris Company chairman and CEO W. Allen Morris told MHN. “That is what makes The Hermitage an ideal project for this stage of downtown St. Petersburg’s evolution.”
The apartment community will be comprised of expansive studio and one- and two-bedroom residences. The building’s architecture will pay homage to the city’s legacy, incorporating “lighthouses” that will soar skyward at its four corners.
Notable amenities will include a rooftop pool and spa, fitness center, outdoor grilling area, private dining and meeting areas with sweeping bay views, bike-oriented storage and contemporary art displayed in the lobby and elsewhere in the property.
“St. Petersburg is a gem,” Morris observed. “I noted during our recent groundbreaking ceremony that I found photos of my grandparents and parents visiting Redington Beach in the 1940s. I have memories of visiting my grandparents, who owned the Osceola Inn in Clearwater, in the 1950s and 1960s. So I’ve had connections to St. Petersburg for decades, and have always found it a wonderful city.”
The Allen Morris Company benefitted from what Morris called “a great desire” on the part of city officials and staff to help make The Hermitage a reality.
The major obstacle company officials experienced involved balancing architectural design and amenities with economics that work, Morris said.
“It’s a challenge to design a building that encompasses a full city block, does not seem monolithic and overpowering, but instead has elements of surprise and inspiration,” he reported, pointing to the lighthouse towers and a generous amount of glass designed to provide light, as well as perspectives on the city and sea.
“It will be home to 400 to 500 people,” Morris said of The Hermitage. “We want to give them a place that is not just an apartment, but a place they are proud to call home, and a place that the city sees as an enhancement to its downtown.”
The Hermitage Apartment Homes project involves a partnership with AIG Global Real Estate, the real estate investment division of insurer American International Group, Inc.
Financing was provided by TD Bank with support from BB&T.
The development will complement the shops, galleries and institutions of downtown St. Petersburg by adding a residential component to the area, Morris believes. “The Hermitage will help attract the young professionals, entrepreneurs and even downsizing empty nesters who wish to live and enjoy a vibrant downtown lifestyle,” he said. “We are very proud to help add such a pivotal element to this wonderful urban core.”