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Landings Real Estate Group: Midrise with Furnished Units in Downtown Tampa
September 29, 2021

(Original Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/)

From the 33rd floor of Truist Place, Craig Bazarsky watched as Water Street Tampa's skyline rose on the southern end of downtown Tampa.

Peering down from his office in Industrious, Bazarsky opened the Hillsborough County property appraiser's online mapping tool on his computer and began clicking from parcel to parcel, evaluating potential development sites near Water Street. At the corner of East Whiting and South Jefferson streets, a quarter-acre parcel adjacent to the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway caught his eye.

"I identified this postage stamp of a site and thought that its proximity to Water Street Tampa and downtown was ideal for an apartment complex," Bazarsky told the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

After multiple iterations, Bazarsky and his business partner, Chris Bicho of Newport, Rhode Island-based Landings Real Estate Group, have proposed what they think is the perfect fit for the property: a seven-story building with 104 furnished and partially units, all between 400 and 450 square feet. Construction costs are pegged between $25 million and $30 million, and rents will be in the low $2,000s, the developers said.

Bicho had been looking for opportunities in Tampa. His firm is active in the Jacksonville market, and he said he sees potential in Tampa and the Interstate 4 corridor for multifamily development.

"In the Northeast, when I tell people we're going to Tampa, they say, 'Oh, we've heard so many great things,'" he said. "I'm not saying it's the new Atlanta, but it kind of is."

Some units won't have parking, a bold move for developers in a car-centric metro like Tampa. But Bicho and Bazarsky say they see the city, particularly downtown and Water Street, becoming less car-dependent in the years ahead.

"It's a little bit of a bet," Bicho said, "however, I do think it's the right bet for the city, where more people are staying, living and entertaining downtown."

The developers have hired Jacksonville-based Live Oak Construction as the general contractor; BDG Architects is designing the building, and Kimley-Horn is the engineer. The plans do not require a public hearing or city council vote; approval or rejection is at the discretion of city staff, and Bazarsky and Bicho are hoping for the approvals in November. Construction will begin in the first half of 2022, they said, and take 18 months to complete.

"With 400 to 450 square foot units, it's like designing a boat," Bicho said. "Every inch matters."

They haven't yet finalized a construction loan. Bicho said he has a relationship with Valley National Bank, which is financing a 210-unit development of his in Jacksonville.

"They're very interested in Tampa, as many lenders are," he said.

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