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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Property Tax Reform- Tampa, Fl

Gov. Charlie Crist spoke in Orlando last night on the property tax reform, a colleuge of mine was there with a video camera. I have edited the video and uploaded it to youtube for others to see. Feel free to share this information if you'd like - I think it's important that it's heard.

The topics of discussion include rolling back taxes to 2003, doubling the homestead exemption and portability of homestead.

Thanks! Here's the link:


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Monday, April 23, 2007

Going Green-Tampa, Fl

Dispatches from the green front: projects becoming more 'doable'
Tampa Bay Business Journal - April 20, 2007
Michael Hinman
Staff Writer

Darren Brinkley of REAL Building in St. Petersburg sits atop old roof trusses that will be used in the future landscaping of the home.
A single-family home near a canal in St. Petersburg and a 33-story residential tower in Tampa's Channelside District might not seem to have a lot in common.

But they represent momentum in what has become an increasing trend in building environment-friendly structures in Tampa Bay -- one some advocates claim is becoming a new local construction standard.

Darren Brinkley has started construction on his 2,000-square-foot house at 216 84th Ave. N.E. in St. Petersburg that will double both as his home and a model for his new development company, REAL Building. It just became the city's first home certified by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and will be exactly what REAL Building will look to construct in the future, Brinkley said. Tree-hugging aside
"Everybody has concerns about their health, and everybody has concerns about the rising costs to run a house," said Brinkley, who gutted an existing single-story home built in 1973 and will build two stories on top of it. "I think green building is definitely maturing, and people are recognizing it. Education is key."

Building a LEED-certified house requires a developer to be creative to meet specific goals like drastically reducing water and energy use, recycling materials that normally are sent to landfills and taking advantage of the environment around a structure without disrupting it.
"People used to say that this is all craziness, that those who were promoting green building were nothing but a bunch of tree huggers," said Colleen Mackin, executive director of the Green Building Council's Florida Gulf Coast Chapter. "But people are realizing that's not the case. Companies like Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Starbucks (NYSE: SBUX), they are going green because they are seeing the bottom line, they are seeing the benefits."

Saving on utility bills in the long-term might get the accountants excited, but building custom green structures costs between 10 and 20 percent more. On a single-family house like Brinkley's, such a hit might not be apparent. But for The Del Villar, a planned 33-story, 120-unit condo project on Channelside Drive and Whiting Street, those costs can compound quickly.

Towering green "I think it's just the general movement within our office and in the industry in general," said Rich Simmons, an architect with Urban Studio Architects in Tampa, which is working with Wilson Miller and Mercury Advisors in planning The Del Villar.
"Typically, we'll see a little bit more upfront in construction costs, but it lowers the maintenance cost in the long run."

The Del Villar received initial approval from the Tampa City Council earlier this week. It will include an undulating roof where plants and soil will replace concrete to provide a natural insulation, and cars will be parked automatically using a 265-space robotic parking garage system.

"Having a LEED-certified building is definitely more marketable than not having a LEED-certified building," Simmons said. As green building becomes more common, competition on the supply side of construction will bring down upfront costs too, said REAL's Brinkley.
"The only obstacle, which is the cost, is going to come down soon," Brinkley predicted. "With more competition and more demand, supply can only get better."

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Feather Sound, Most Desirable Neighborhood for Commuters

Feather Sound has long been considered one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the Clearwater area. The prestigious Feather Sound Golf and Country Club, the beautiful vistas with meandering lakes and the immediate proximity to I-275 are part of the appeal that has made the Feather Sound Community such a coveted address.
Feather is located in the Carillon Business District, across from Raymond James Headquarters, Franklin Templeton, and St. Anythony's Hospital
View a Map of Feather Sound and Search Homes, Condos and Townhouses For Sale

Audubon Condos located in Feathersound is an attended, gated community with two and three-bedroom and loft residences featured in a tropical setting surrounded by panoramic views of the golf course, walking trails and nature preserve.

“The truth is that Feather Sound itself is just about built-out,” explains Phil Massey. “There will be no more new developments, which leaves only existing homes on the market. Those who want to live in a luxury community, with resort-style amenities and beautiful well-appointed floor plans would do well to check out Audubon.

Massey says the area surrounding Feather Sound has become more and more of an attraction over the past few years as it has grown. Fine restaurants, shopping, new schools, sports amenities and night life options abound close by and proximity to I-275 brings downtown Tampa, St. Petersburg, two airports, the beaches and all the other cultural and recreational choices of the bay area within easy access.

Spanning to over 1500 square feet, the residences at Audubon offer a variety of floor plans, all with scenic golf course or lake views. Owners will also enjoy deluxe kitchens with GE appliances, full-size washer and dryer, stone tile flooring, ceramic tile baths, crown molding and screened porches or patios.

Community amenities are a significant part of Audubon’s appeal. The Clubhouse complex, surrounded by beautiful lake vistas and a scenic fountain, attracts owners and their guests for daytime and evening activities. There they can relax on the sundeck beneath the bougainvillea-covered pergola, cool off in the expansive swimming pool, polish their tennis skills on the lighted courts or enjoy a refreshing pick-me-up at the juice-bar nearby. Inside the clubhouse more choices abound. Perhaps its time for a work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center or for a friendly game on the basketball court. At the convenient Cyber CafĂ© business center owners can plan a conference room meeting via fast-access internet and fax. Later on, they can prepare for a big family party at the Clubroom with its adjoining catering kitchen. Owners know they can count on Audubon’s concierge for assistance and special services when they are needed.

“Audubon at Feather Sound is a community that’s guaranteed to exceed your expectations in every way but one … the price,” says developer Adam Schlesinger. “With our resort-style amenities, gated privacy and stunning setting, it's little wonder people are so eager to call Audubon home.”

email us for a current list of condos or homes for sale in Feather Sound or call 813 784 7744

Prices at Audubon have come down significantly and start in the $120's for lofts, $150s for two bedrooms and $180's for three bedrooms.

Search MLS for homes for sale in Feathersound. See map of area, save favorites, findout what homes are selling for and more...Prudential Tropical Realty

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Top Local Realtors Receive Awards -Prudential Tropical Realty, Tampa, Fl

For Immediate Release
April 10, 2007

For more information contact:
Rae Catanese, Prudential Tropical Realty
Phone: 813-784-7744
Email: realtyrae@yahoo.com

Top Realtors Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan -

Tampa, Fl- Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan of Prudential Tropical Realty have been named to The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., prestigious Chairman’s Circle –for 2006.
The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., is a company of Prudential Financial, Inc. [NYSE:PRU].

They were recognized during special awards ceremonies at Prudential Real Estate’s Sales Convention held in San Diego from March 18-20, 2007. Approximately 7,000 real estate professionals from the United States, Canada and Mexico attended the event.

They are both outstanding, professionals to have on our team,” said Zoe Green, Broker, Prudential Tropical Realty, South Tampa. “They are synonymous with integrity and quality service. We are proud to have Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan as a part of the Prudential Real Estate family.”

Rae Catanese entered the real estate field in 2002 and joined Prudential Tropical Realty in 4/2004. Michelle Jordan became a team member in 9/2005. Together as a team, Rae and Michelle earned the top Realtor Team award by earning top gross commission in 2006 for the South Tampa Branch of Prudential Tropical Realty.

Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., consists of companies that are selected based upon outstanding performance records, high levels of customer service and shared business values. Upon joining Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., companies are provided with many benefits, including access to a free and private Web site that links sales professionals to a 24/7 resource, and increased media exposure through an advertising campaign that encompasses some of America’s most watched networks and print media. Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., is also the largest real estate advertiser in The Wall Street Journal.

Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services is Prudential Financial’s integrated real estate brokerage franchise and relocation services business.

For more information, please visit http://www.tampabaydwellings.com/ or call

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Tampa Bay Outlook-Florida Trend Magazine

TAMPA BAY: Fulfilling the Promise
By Art Levy - 4/1/2007

HIGH-TECH FOCUS: The entire region should benefit from SRI International's arrival in St. Petersburg and efforts between the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and Merck to create a cancer research venture near the University of South Florida. "We need to help the SRIs and the Mercks of the world fulfill the promise that exists from attracting those kind of facilities to Tampa Bay," says Stuart L. Rogel, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership.

JOBS: According to a Tampa Bay Partnership report, which includes Manatee and Sarasota counties, the region generated more than 37,000 jobs in 2006 and created more than three times as many jobs as Charlotte, N.C., in the first quarter of 2006.

CHALLENGES: There are concerns over insurance rates, property taxes, transportation and the availability of affordable housing. The answer? "I don't think you can just sit there, be stagnant and press out widgets every day and survive," says Mike McHugh, director of the Hernando County Office of Business Development. "To be successful, companies pretty much have to be innovative. It's universal. I don't see anyone immune from that pressure."


ECONOMY: "We certainly have some challenges, in terms of the insurance issue and the property tax issue, but both of those are being worked on," says Kim Scheeler, president of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. "Our economic development folks are still working projects. It's not going to be as easy as it used to be, but I still think we're in a strong economy."

JOBS: Tampa attracted more "higher-paying" jobs than in past years, and the city succeeded in creating more "higher-skill-set" jobs, Scheeler says. That means more jobs in "life sciences, biosciences and financial services" -- and fewer call-center jobs.

LOOKING AHEAD: Scheeler points to the joint venture between the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and drug maker Merck as an example of where Tampa's economy is going. "In a nutshell, they're going to make it easier and quicker to bring drugs to market, which means a much lower cost to the drug companies, which ultimately means a much lower cost to all of us," he says. "And then other companies are going to want to be a part of that. It has the potential to put us on the map and become a real engine to drive growth."


» Network World magazine has named Persystent Technologies, a Tampa software company, one of its "10 management companies to watch." Founded in 2002, the company creates software that automatically fixes operating system problems when the computer is rebooted.

» The Tampa Bay Technology Forum gave its 2006 Quantum Leap Technology Award to Creative Recycling Systems, a Tampa firm that extracts useable materials from obsolete computer and electronic equipment.

» Researchers at the Johnnie B. Byrd Sr. Alzheimer's Center & Research Institute have developed a vaccine made from specialized blood cells that reverses memory loss in lab mice with Alzheimer's. The Tampa facility was created in 2004 to find a cure for the disease.

» Researchers at the University of South Florida have developed a simple-to-use biosensor that can detect pathogenic organism and microbial toxins in food, water, air and surfaces.

St. Petersburg

CONSTRUCTION: A slew of construction cranes still frame St. Petersburg's skyline, indicating that, despite the housing and condominium slowdown, the city's economy is still growing. "The super boom era has probably come to an end, but we still are seeing projects get out of the ground," says Dave Goodwin, St. Petersburg's economic development director. "We're still seeing a nice pace as far as the value of permits being issued during the first quarter of 2007. It didn't keep up with last year, which was far and away our record year, but it's pretty much on par with 2005, which, until 2006, was a record year."

COMMERCIAL: The city's office vacancy rate was at 7.9% during the third quarter of 2006. In 2005, it was 7.2%, which is way down from 16.5% in
2002. "Our office vacancy rate is very low. The inventory is just not there," Goodwin says. "We would love to see someone build a new office building in St. Petersburg."

CHALLENGES: The rising cost of housing is turning some prospects off. "There are probably certain companies, with certain wage rates, that probably aren't going to be looking at St. Petersburg, anymore," Goodwin says.

TARGET: Officials are setting their sights on attracting more high-paying jobs. "Our target industries include advanced manufacturing, IT and the financial services," says Mike Meidell, director of Pinellas County Economic Development.

Innovators (St. Petersburg)

» SRI International, among the world's leading independent research and technology development institutes, opened its St. Petersburg marine technology unit in January. The facility will focus on developing technologies related to marine technology and ocean science. Local officials hope SRI will attract research, development and manufacturing firms to Tampa Bay. Over the past decade, the California-based institute has sponsored more than $2 billion in research and development.

» The Tampa Bay Technology Forum named Kurt Long its 2006 entrepreneurial leader of the year. Long is founder and CEO of EpicTide, a St. Petersburg maker of healthcare industry software.

» St. Petersburg College will open a building for its College of Orthotics and Prosthetics this fall. "This is a crucial program because of an increase in diabetic patients and injuries from the Middle East war," says Carl M. Kuttler Jr., the school's president. The college is also working to boost lagging enrollment among men. Just 37% of SJC's students are male, compared to state and national averages of 43%. Its Man to Man program aims to change that.

» Housing Slowdown (St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater)
53,183 -- Realtor sales for single-family homes in 2005
34,322 -- Realtor sales for single-family homes in 2006 (down 35% from 2005)
13,094 -- Realtor sales for existing condos in 2005
8,510 -- Realtor sales for existing condos in 2006 (down 35% from 2005)
Source: Florida Association of Realtors

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Tampa high-rise pioneers to plant seeds of urban chic

Tampa high-rise pioneers to plant seeds of urban chic

Downtown condo developers have high hopes the lifestyle spreads like a contagion.

Published March 19, 2007

TAMPA - The view from Bobby Neale's home in Land O'Lakes is a field of cows.
From his Brandon townhouse, Ian Markowitz scans a retention pond.

Rock Scaglione looks out his window in Seminole Heights and sees a street of bungalows.
In the coming weeks, they will swap these standard Tampa Bay neighborhood backdrops for something entirely new: high-rise urban chic.

By late April, Neale, Markowitz, Scaglione and a few hundred soon-to-be neighbors will be part of a historic migration to downtown's first major offering of urban living: 777 Ashley Drive. SkyPoint, the $80-million 32-story tower with 381 condos, is the biggest residential high-rise in downtown's history. Its future residents will pioneer a way of life in a downtown known for its office towers, parking lots and deserted after-hours streets.

"Downtown is very transitional," Neale said. "Sometimes it's pretty vacant. But with all the things that are projected to come, I just see it getting better and better."
Will this experiment work? SkyPoint's developers are betting it will.

Novare Group, an Atlanta development company, and Intown Group, a local firm, are doubling down on an acre lot across from SkyPoint. There, they recently started building Element, a 34-story condo tower along Franklin Street.

On Thursday, they will seek zoning approval for another tower on Ashley Drive. This one would be called Twelve, part- boutique hotel, part-condo. As proposed, it would be the tallest condo high-rise yet at 47 stories.

When it comes to downtown's so-called condo boom, forget about Trump Tower Tampa, the project that became the media darling but has yet to find the financing to start construction.
The developers transforming downtown are Novare and Intown. SkyPoint, Element and Twelve would add 1,185 condos and 135 hotel rooms to a downtown that so far can claim fewer than 100 completed condos. With a fourth project pending next to SkyPoint, no other developer comes close to keeping up.

Gregory Minder, Intown's president, said with SkyPoint sold out and Element selling briskly, he doesn't buy the doom-and-gloom talk about a slowing condo market. "We're not worried," he said. "We know there are a lot of people in Tampa who want this type of housing."

City officials have calculated that the tax windfall from SkyPoint, Element and other condo projects will finance a $40-million overhaul of downtown for the next 12 years.

A new waterfront park, better public transportation, and a revamped Ashley Drive are some of the projects that might be financed from the taxes paid by downtown's newest denizens. "This evolutionary stage for downtown will take place in the next two years," said Michael Chen, director of Tampa's urban development department. "Downtown will become not just viable, but a desirable place to live."

So who exactly are the people moving into these condos, which fetch from the $170,000s (for the 650-square-foot units) to more than $500,000? Downtown will soon find out. The target market for Novare's and Intown's projects are those between the ages of 25 and 40.

See also:
skypoint condos for sale
investing in condos

For an updated list of downtown developments please email realtyrae@yahoo.com
or call 813-784-7744

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