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Water Street Tampa is a step closer to getting its first residents.

The first apartments at Heron, the multi-billion-dollar downtown development’s first residential tower, hit the market in late December, with listings, as of Tuesday, starting at $1,918 per month for a 545-square-foot one-bedroom.

That’s significantly higher than current rents elsewhere in the city. The average apartment in Tampa rents for $1,267, or $1.34 per square feet, according to ApartmentData.com. Even in the downtown submarket stretching from Hyde Park to Ybor City, the average price is $1,781, or $1.98 per square foot.

Heron’s smallest unit lists for $3.52 per square foot — a price “substantially higher” than anywhere else in the city, said Cindi Reed, ApartmentData.com’s regional vice president.

“That sounds like condo-quality living, so there’s going to be a very distinct, upper-end profile that’s going to cater to this property,” Reed said. “By the time they start leasing to see who’s going to buy at those prices, they may be coming down from that. But I don’t see anything in Tampa that’s going for those kinds of prices.”

Heron will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units spread across two towers linked by a 30,000-square-foot sixth-floor garden. On the ground floor will be restaurants and retail, including the city’s first GreenWise Market by Publix, a new concept from the grocery chain. At the top will be rooftop pools, cabanas and outdoor kitchens.

Each apartment will have its own 122- to 753-square-foot terrace, depending on size. When completed, Heron will have:

  • 198 one-bedroom apartments ranging from 545 square feet to 901 square feet. The smallest available on Heron’s website as of Tuesday were listed for $1,918 per month; the largest available was 803 square feet and $2,610 per month.
  • 214 two-bedroom units ranging from 842 square feet to 1,610 square feet. Those available on Tuesday ranged from $3,060 per month for 906 square feet to $4,110 per month for 1,356 square feet.
  • Eight three-bedroom units starting at 1,604 square feet, with the largest listed at 2,069 square feet. Pricing for these apartments was not available.

Heron is expected to be move-in ready by March, making it the first residential building to open at Water Street Tampa, a $3.5 billion mixed-use development from Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and an investment group led by Bill Gates.

Another crop of much more expensive residences hit the market last month. The Residences at the Tampa Edition are 37 luxury condos spaced throughout the forthcoming Edition, a five-star hotel partnership between Marriott and celebrity hotelier Ian Schrager. Those homes have been quietly available for more than a year, but officially went on sale in December. They’re not expected to be ready until late 2021.

Two other residential projects are in the works: A 388-unit tower at 1011 E Cumberland Ave., scheduled to open later this year; and a 497-unit building at 1050 Water St. in mid-2022. When these and other nearby developments come online, it could drive Heron’s prices down.

“It will create some competition, and they’ll be fighting for the leases,” Reed said. “But it just depends. Water Street may be such a crowd-pleaser that they’re pulling them in.”

Last month, the development saw the opening of its first hotel, the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street, a 27-story, 519-room hotel that, when paired with the adjacent Tampa Marriott Water Street, is expected to boost the area’s appeal for conventions and other large gatherings.

Despite a bit dip early in the pandemic, downtown Tampa’s apartment market remains fairly hot, Reed said, with the occupancy rate rebounding throughout 2020, and actually increasing year over year.

“Tampa has been on a huge growth spurt since we’ve been tracking it since 2017,” Reed said. “That could very well be driving those downtown rental rates. They may be on the rise.”


Publication: Tampa Bay Times

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