Ritz Carlton Gets 3rd Partner

Hersha Development, based in Philadelphia joins Orion Communities Inc. and R.L. Pearson & Associates as a full joint venture partner for the Ritz Carlton Tampa Bay.

When completed in 2011, the Ritz-Carlton will have 269 hotel rooms and 44 residences in the hotel and 132 residences in an adjacent tower. Among the amenities are a 15,000-square-foot spa and wellness center, boutique shops, retail space and various dining options. It will also have 30,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 12,000-square-foot ballroom. A sales office in the Rocky Point area will open early this year.

Ritz Carlton Coming To Tampa

Orion Communities Inc. and RL Pearson & Associates Inc. plan to build a 269-room Ritz-Carlton Tampa Bay and The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton Tampa Bay in the Rocky Point area near Tampa International Airport.

It will be the 10th Ritz-Carlton in Florida and the second one in Tampa Bay. Ritz-Carlton Sarasota opened in 2002.

Amenities will include a 15,000-square-foot spa and wellness center, boutique shops, retail space, separate hotel and residence outdoor swimming pools with whirlpools and restaurants, including a signature restaurant and a South Beach inspired beachside bar and grill.

Select guests and residents will have access to the private Club Lounge, a signature amenity that provides a catered, social environment for children and adults offering daily entertainment, light cuisine and refreshments.

The Beach Club will offer a boardwalk along the bay, cabanas and a waterfront bar and grill. The marina will provide boat slips for hotel guests and select residences. A designated dock master will service the marina.

The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Tampa Bay, the condo component of the hotel, will offer 44 units on the top seven floors as well as 132 private condominiums in an adjacent 19-story tower. Units will have floor plans averaging 2,800 square feet.

Residents will have access to all the services and amenities offered by the hotel, including concierge service, room service, catering, housekeeping and valet parking. They will also have their own private pool, social room, theater, game room and business center.

Aqualea Construction To Begin

The Aqualea Resort Condominium Hotel and Residences will now be a reality on Clearwater Beach. Financing for the 268-unit complex on South Gulfview Boulevard has been secured. Total financing is around $105 million, or more than $391,000 per unit. The deleloper has partnered with the Hyatt Corp. to develop the complex, which will feature a four-star resort that will be the centerpiece of Clearwater Beach’s Beach Walk.

Foundation work has already begun on the 400-foot expanse of Gulfview Boulevard where the 920,000-square-foot Aqualea will be built. It’s expected to be completed by the end of 2009. The resort will include two swimming pools, a beach concession with towel and beverage service, a spa and private air-conditioned poolside cabanas.

Owners will be able to live or vacation in their units and make them available for rental through Hyatt’s resort management program. Units range in price from $485,000 to $1.4 million, according to previous reports. Also included will be a $5.4 million penthouse. Sales could begin within the next 16 months.

Aqualea was one of many projects announced for Clearwater Beach since early 2005. Most have been delayed, including Clearwater Grande from Clearwater Grande Development, Entrada from Decade Properties, Kiran Grand Resort & Spa from K&P Clearwater Estate, Marbella Condominiums from Lucca Development and Sienna Sands.

Lele Development’s Enchantment Beachfront Residences is still offering units in a pre-sales capacity down the street from Aqualea where units were available for between $900,000 and $2.7 million. JMC Communities has begun construction of Marquesas, where units were reportedly being offered for between $700,000 and $6 million.

Taylor Woodrow’s Indigo Beach Residence & Suites, which offered 190 units between $1 million and $2.5 million, was cancelled earlier this year.

Enchantment Cutting Prices

Uday Lele, devloper of Enchantment on Clearwater Beach sell the first 40 units of his project at $675 a square foot with a 20 percent deposit, after cutting the price of an average unit to just under $1 million.

When the Gulfview Boulevard project was announced last year, he was asking nearly $3.1 million a unit on average, about $990 a square foot. With a design resembling a butterfly, Enchantment Beachfront Residences initially offered more than 90 units with a 240-degree view of the shoreline from each.  The 40 sales he’s after now are needed for financing for the $180 million project. After those units are sold, the remaining units will be sold for prices at least 20 percent higher. The design has been reconfigured to help deliver the same amenities at a lower cost.

Many condominium projects not already underway are being forced to rethink sales strategies or cease operations altogether. Beachfront property has taken a considerable hit from the housing declines, and some high-profile projects that neighbored Enchantment’s property are history. That includes Indigo Beach Residences & Suites, a 15-story, 112-unit condo project that Taylor Woodrow cancelled in May.

Coral Reef Resort on St Pete Beach Sells For $7.3 Million

The Coral Reef Hotel on St. Pete Beach has been sold for $7.3 million to Coral Reef Partners LLC. In addition to the hotel, buyers also purchased the lease on Bongo’s, the hotel’s beach bar/restaurant, for $1 million. The 60-room facility will continue to operate as the Coral Reef Beach Hotel, renovations are underway to redevelop the property as a resort hotel. There are also 2 timeshare buildings on the property that were not part of the sale.