The Julia Condos Under Construction

The Julia Condos Under Construction cover picture shows the rendering of the building at dusk. The title uses white letters.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  New Downtown St. Pete Condo Tower Under Construction

Construction is underway on the latest addition to downtown St. Petersburg’s growing skyline – The Julia. In October 2022, developers broke ground on the 19-story condominium tower planned for 100 4th Avenue North. The boutique building will feature just 19 luxurious residences ranging from 1,905 to 3,132 square feet. Additionally, The Julia offers a unique opportunity for owners to participate in a managed vacation rental program.



The Julia Condos Under Construction: Project Background and Details

The Julia is being co-developed by two experienced firms – the Francis Family led by veteran real estate developer Peter Francis, and MBA Development with Robert Sherman. The condominium tower is named after Francis’ 13-year-old daughter Julia.

Furthermore, the building will only have a maximum of two units per floor with limited shared walls, along with private elevator foyers in select residences. This design ensures a quiet, exclusive atmosphere for residents.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:   Prime Location

The Julia occupies a prime corner parcel in downtown St. Petersburg at 4th Avenue North and 1st Street North. The site has an intriguing history, originally set to become a different high-rise condominium called Bezu in 2017. However, after that project was rejected, developers modified the plans which finally led to the approval of The Julia proposal in 2019.

Additionally, the building is conveniently situated within walking distance of many of downtown’s best restaurants, shops, arts venues and parks. Therefore, future residents will have easy access to the neighborhood’s vibrant culture right outside their front door.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Luxury Interiors and Amenities

Architectonics Studio designed The Julia’s modern glass exterior, while Steven G. Inc. handled the interior design. The high-end residences will feature floor-to-ceiling windows and doors leading to multiple private outdoor terraces.

Moreover, the building amenities aim to provide a luxury resort-style experience. The Julia offers a heated pool and spa overlooking the downtown skyline, an outdoor kitchen and bar, resident lounge, private dog area, and tranquil zen garden. These facilities intend to create a relaxing oasis above the city.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Managed Vacation Rental Opportunity

An uncommon advantage for owners in The Julia is the option to participate in a managed vacation rental program. Unlike most downtown buildings which prohibit short-term rentals, The Julia is partnering with Vacasa to allow flexible-term leasing.

Owners can choose to rent their homes out for a minimum of 30 days at a time for up to 12 times per year. Vacasa handles all management services from marketing to cleaning. Investors may find this especially appealing to offset ownership costs.

As part of the program, The Julia offers optional fully furnished, move-in ready residences. Therefore, second-home buyers can purchase a turn-key downtown condo ready to occupy or rent out instantly.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Strong Pre-Sales and Future Prospects

In a statement on the project, Peter Francis shared: “The overwhelming interest in The Julia has surpassed our initial expectations…a testament to the exceptional work of Ron Platt and our dedicated sales team.”

Indeed, pricing in the building starts at $1.6 million with Ron Platt of Keller Williams Realty leading sales. Strong pre-construction demand indicates confidence in The Julia and reflects an appetite for luxury downtown offerings generally as the neighborhood rapidly evolves.

While foundation work has already begun, vertical construction starts next year and completion is on the horizon. Francis anticipates a warm welcome for residents as they move into these highly-sought downtown homes in the coming years.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Design and Construction Team

As noted, Architectonics Studio designed the modern exterior glass facade of The Julia. The firm focuses on luxury high-rise projects across Florida, bringing extensive expertise to this development.

Meanwhile, interior designer Steven G. is well-known around the Tampa Bay region for his elegant craftsmanship upgrading condominiums, hotels and restaurants through his 30-year career. Certainly his involvement raises expectations for the high level of finishes planned in the residences.

Finally, JSD Construction Services leads construction operations on The Julia. They bring substantial experience having built many notable developments around St. Pete and Tampa. With deep local knowledge, JSD can navigate the intricacies of downtown construction.

Therefore, Francis and Sherman have assembled an accomplished design and construction team to bring The Julia to life as a premier downtown address.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  St. Petersburg Condo Market Overview

Downtown St. Petersburg offers a vibrant urban lifestyle with arts, culture, dining and entertainment just steps outside residents’ front doors. At the same time, beautiful beaches, parks and waterfront are also conveniently close. This combination of amenities within an intimate community creates strong appeal.

As such, demand for downtown living continues to accelerate. Over 2,500 new condominium units have been completed downtown since 2012, with hundreds more planned. Nevertheless sales remain swift in new buildings as inventory struggles to match rising interest.

Particularly at the luxury end, few new downtown condo projects cater to high-net worth buyers compared to Miami or other major cities. This scarcity allows premium developments to generate buzz. For example, the under-construction ONE St. Petersburg luxury tower has already sold half its 44 units priced from $1.5 million despite barely marketing so far.

Clearly developers believe substantial untapped demand remains for luxury downtown offerings. Hence The Julia arrives amid further evolution of the neighborhood’s condo market.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Downtown Population Growth

Signifying this dynamic growth, downtown St. Pete’s population nearly tripled from under 3,500 in 2010 to over 9,100 by 2022 according to census data. And hundreds of additional units currently under construction ensure more residents arriving in coming years too.

As the population swells, so does the supporting infrastructure of even more restaurants, shops and amenities all within walking distance for residents. This urban critical mass generates an appealing environment for homebuyers. Based on strong migration and expansion trends, downtown seems poised to hit around 12,000 residents by 2025 if not sooner.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Luxury Segment Trends

The top end of downtown St. Pete’s condo market above $1 million had traditionally seen more sporadic sales activity versus lower price points.

However, as inventory previously concentrated in more affordable ranges, luxury purchasers faced minimal new-build options. Most resales available also generally required extensive renovations less appealing for high-end buyers wary of construction hassles.

But the delivery of new luxury towers like ONE St. Petersburg and The Julia helps properly showcase full-amenity high-rise living for affluent home shoppers. This class of buyers also values brand new residences with modern designs as showpieces.

Already sales results illustrate the demand unleashed at the high end. ONE St. Petersburg commands prices over $1,100 per square foot, easily exceeding downtown’s previous record around $750 psf. Yet half the units have sold in barely four months amid minimal promotion so far.

The Julia offers a similar high-end proposition but in a smaller boutique setting. With just 19 total units, it provides a more exclusive ownership experience than larger towers. Pricing starts around $800 psf, still a premium level while more approachable than ONE St. Petersburg.

Early interest indicates investors recognize these offerings tap into undersupplied segments compared to previous downtown developments geared mostly to mid-market price levels below $750,000.

The robust initial absorptions in ONE St. Petersburg validate developers’ confidence in underserved demand and suggest swift sales for The Julia as well upon completion. Hence the luxury downtown condo market looks primed for major expansion.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Rental Market Evolution

A further unique angle bolstering the investment case for The Julia is its managed rental program. As regulations tighten on short-term rentals across Florida, this option allows owners a structured pathway to tap into tourism demand.

According to the vacation rental data firm AirDNA, downtown St. Petersburg Airbnb’s and Vrbo’s generated an average daily rate around $250 in 2022. Peak winter season demand drove rates over $300/night or $9,000-plus monthly.

These figures far exceed typical long-term rental income in downtown condos. For investors buying earlier at pre-construction pricing, leasing through The Julia’s program could deliver yield north of 5% even after management fees.

So offering a built-in vehicle to profit from St. Pete’s immense visitor demand provides compelling value. The minimum 30-day booking requirement balances regulation goals with flexibility for owners and travelers.

As cities adapt ordinances following controversy around short-term rental impacts, The Julia’s structure could become a template for future developments. The concept aligns incentives allowing residents peace while sustaining tourism dollars. Expect more buildings to follow suit if the model succeeds.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Development Team Background
The Francis Family / Peter Francis

With deep multi-generational ties to St. Petersburg, the Francis Family brings extensive property expertise guiding The Julia’s conception and market positioning.

Peter Francis leads the family’s development business as a seasoned real estate investor across various asset classes. These include retail centers, mobile home parks, warehouses, land entitlement and residential buildings.

Under his leadership, the Francis Family portfolio has expanded to over $500 million in assets. Developments span Florida, Alabama, Virginia, the Carolinas and beyond.

In St. Petersburg specifically, Peter Francis redeveloped the Gateway Centre office complex. His hands-on approach and localized market knowledge inform The Julia’s design and sales approach to cater to neighborhood buyer preferences.

MBA Development / Robert Sherman

Co-developer MBA Development is also no stranger to downtown St. Pete. As a major force across Pinellas County, MBA has built both smaller infill projects and sizable master-planned communities.

Recent examples include the 23-unit ONE 800 Harbor Island luxury condo tower on the downtown waterfront. MBA also constructed the sprawling 4,000-home Tierra Verde Golf & Country Club community nearby.

Led by Robert Sherman, MBA brings over 35 years expertise with complicated developments, ensuring a steady hand guiding The Julia. Their extensive record around St. Petersburg bolsters partnerships with contractors, designers and brokers key to delivering success.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Construction Timeline

Initial planning and design work on The Julia stretch back over five years spanning various prior proposals for the site. But now concrete progress is underway towards vertical construction.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Early Preparations

Since final approvals in late 2019, the development team has completed initial preparations for sales and construction launch.

Architectural plans were refined to today’s 19 residences configuration within the 180-foot height compliant framework. Sales materials were also created for the Plaza Tower Group brokerage team in preparation for buyer marketing.

Simultaneously engineers conducted soil tests, environmental assessments and surveys to confirm constructability. With feasibility confirmed, closing on construction financing unlocked the groundbreaking in October 2022.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Current Status

As described previously, excavation and foundation pouring has now begun on The Julia site. By early 2023 the below-ground garage levels will take shape.

Thereafter vertical construction is slated to starttowards mid-2023, likely peaking 12-15 months later in 2024. Finishing work on the interior residences and amenity spaces will follow through 2025.

Considering the tower only has 19 total units, fit-out should proceed relatively quickly once the central structure is watertight. Presales will also dictate which units receive priority determining the sequence for occupancies towards the end.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Completion Timeframe

Given the construction milestones and typical high rise trajectories, developer projections forecast a completion window by late 2025. After final inspections, buyers may occupy homes before 2026 arrives.

Interior design firm Steven G. will ensure residence finishes meet luxury standards as one of the final steps concluding the journey from excavation to owners moving in.

No significant impediments appear probable to obstruct the current schedule after years clearing hurdles to begin work. Assuming sound execution by the capable development team, The Julia looks on-track to culminate by end-2025 as downtown’s next signature tower.

The Julia Condos Under Construction:  Conclusion

The Julia brings a high-end boutique dimension to St. Petersburg’s downtown condominium market. With curated shared amenities across just 19 exclusive homes, the tower promotes a resort-style ambience overlooking vibrant city sights.

For future residents, exceptional interiors open to private outdoor spaces meld interior comfort with easy access to surrounding amenities. Owners can also elect to generate income via the managed rental program when not occupying the residence.

From an urban planning perspective, The Julia expands housing diversity through a thoughtfully-scaled project. Contributing new residences and tax revenue, the building adds value on multiple fronts to support neighborhood growth.

As demolition gives way to ascendant progress on-site, The Julia physically embodies increasing aspirations for luxury downtown living. The tower promises to deliver one of St. Pete’s most prestigious addresses upon its 2025-due completion.

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About the Author
Rob Johnson
Realtor, St. Petersburg FL