By Susan Taylor Martin, Tampa Bay Times
TAMPA — After more than a decade with no new condo towers, Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard area could soon be flush with them.
A Naples-based developer today unveiled plans for Altura Bayshore, a 22-story tower at Bayshore and Bay to Bay boulevards. That brings to four the number of condo towers announced in the past few years for one of the city’s prime waterfront areas.
“It’s really exciting to see everything happening in Tampa,” said Anthony Solomon, owner of Ronto Group. “It has great energy to it now and we think it’s a great time to be here.”
Solomon said his company’s project will be “a little different” from other new towers in size and price. Units will average around 2,500 square feet and range from the “low millions” to $2.9 million. That compares to larger units and top prices of around $5 million at Virage Bayshore, which is nearing completion, and the Sanctuary at Alexandra Place, where construction recently began.
Instead of a private penthouse on the top floor as is planned for Virage and the Sanctuary, Altura will have a rooftop amenity deck with pool, bar, grills and cabanas available to all residents. Outdoor facilities at ground level will include pickle ball and bocce ball courts, a fenced dog park and a putting green.
“It’s almost like what people find in a gated community in the ‘burbs but we’ll offer that downtown with a view,” Solomon said. All 73 units will have front-to-back floor plans so residents can watch sunrises over Hillsborough Bay and sunsets over South Tampa.
Ronto Group, which has projects in Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples and Marco Island, looked in the Tampa Bay area for 15 years before paying around $5 million last fall for what is now the parking lot of an office building. Solomon said he liked the site because of the proximity to both Bayshore and several restaurants.
“People are more and more looking for a maintenance-free lifestyle close to downtown with walkabilty,” he said.
The property originally was zoned for 175 units and 220,000 square feet; Altura will have 184,000 square feet and fewer than half as many units. Ronto Group plans to open a sales office in September and break ground late next year, with construction expected to take about two years.
Solomon said he isn’t worried about competition from Virage, the Sanctuary or Aquatica, another new Bayshore tower. Nor does he think Tampa’s condo market is getting overbuilt like some in Florida where investors and foreign buyers are driving up prices.
“The market (here) is not driven by flight capital or investment,” he said. “We know who our buyers are — they’re local people, retirees. They are buying because they live here and enjoy it. While everybody keeps a watch on what’s happening, we don’t see any precipitous shakeup.”