ST. PETERSBURG - Since mid-July, 22 apartments at ICON Central have been occupied and another 24 are slated for move-ins by the end of August. Many of the tenants are coming from other high-end rental communities just a short walk away.
"It happens when you’re the newest thing on the block,'' said Amanda Smith, regional director for the developer, Miami’s Related Group.
The 15-story, 368-unit ICON Central takes up the entire 800 block of Central Avenue on the edge of St. Petersburg’s bustling Edge District. For a project its size, it went up in a remarkably quick time — 18 months —and Related is marketing it as a "new level of luxury'’ in a downtown area already full of high-end apartments.
Rents start at $1,730 for a studio and go up to $5,800 for the three-bedroom, two-bath penthouses with 13-foot ceilings, custom closets and balconies with views of Tampa Bay. All three penthouses have been leased even though the annual rent is $69,600 —$17,400 more than Tampa Bay’s median household income.
The first wave of tenants is getting one month’s free rent because some amenities have yet to be finished, including a "treatment'' room that residents can reserve and bring in their own massage therapists and aestheticians.
ICON Central’s most striking feature is the large courtyard with an infinity pool surrounded by palms, cabanas and sleek lounge chairs. There’s also a rooftop terrace, a cozy movie theater, a residents’ lounge with pool table, a steam-and-sauna room and a fitness center with expensive Peloton exercise bikes.
In keeping with its proximity to the Edge District, the building has a "very artsy, very edgy'' look, Smith said as she led a tour. Artwork tends toward the abstract; the dominant color scheme is black and white with bursts of fire-engine red.
Related preserved a section of the century-old Union Trust building, which will be part of the retail space that the company is leasing. No businesses have been announced but they are expected to include at least one restaurant.
Among the tenants who have moved in so far are "a lot of professionals'' in the medical and legal fields, Smith said, including some who came from the year-old 930 Central Flats and the three-year-old Hermitage just a block away. "We’ve also had a couple (of tenants) from Houston'' who moved to the bay area because of corporate relocations, she said.
ICON Central also is drawing retirees and empty-nesters who don’t want the hassle of a house but do want more amenities than many condominium communities provide.
The St. Petersburg project is the newest of the three apartment communities that Related has opened in the Tampa Bay area this year. Manor Riverwalk, on the site of the old Tampa Tribune building in downtown Tampa, is 62 percent leased and Town Westshore, in the Westshore Marina District near the Gandy Bridge , is 60 percent leased.
Related is looking at other possible apartment sites in Tampa and St. Petersburg. "We like this urban feel,'' Smith said, "but nothing is in stone yet.''