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Old Northeast bungalow a good find for the buyers


Notes from Rob:

Rob’s Sale #15 for the year.  Old Northeast neighborhood in St Petersburg.

It has been an interesting year for sales.  The Simms Team had a nice couple looking for a small house in the old Northeast.  One day this cute house came on the market, and was withdrawn from the market the next day.  Luckily I knew the agent who had the house listed for the day, and learned the complete background.  I called the owners and arranged to show the house to my clients.  Before the day was out we had a contract on the house.  Of course nothing goes smoothly this year.  Seller felt the buyers were getting the deal of the century and was unwilling to help with anything, but the buyers loved the house so much they agreed to pay the extra fees, fix the items required by the lender and we cleared every hurdle that was put in our way.  After closing I drove over to the house with my clients as they looked at their new home.  It brought a lot of joy to me after I closed the front door on my way out to hear a yell of excitement from the new owners showing how happy they were.  Makes you feel you are doing some good.

Posted by Rob Johnson | Currently No Comments »

Overvue condos in St Petersburg revert to retirement community

The Northshore, an assisted living community at 939 Beach Drive NE in St Petersburg was a desirable “cruise ship on land” that was sold to be converted into condominiums. I know it was desirable because my mother lived there. The residents were ousted, and construction began on Overvue, 72 condo residences, some with wonderful water views. Alas, none of them had balconies. Then …

The economy hit, and hit hard.  Overvue wasn’t able to sell enough condos to complete the project.

Its neighbor, Westminster Communities of Florida, at 830 Northshore Drive NE in St Petersburg, recently bought the building from the bankruptcy court for $9 million. Westminster will convert the high-rise back to retirement living, with 135 apartments for active seniors. The $15 million of revenue bonds will finance both the purchase and the renovations. It’s expected to be ready for occupancy by the beginning of 2010.

Posted by Sharon Simms | Currently No Comments »


A garagemahal is a home where the garage (often a 3-car garage or more) dominates the front view of the house. I don’t know that the word applied to townhomes that may have only a one car garage, but the point is the same when you see the garage but not the entrance and no other facade than the garage. The word comes from the Taj Mahal, so there’s a bit of irony in that most of these garagemahals have none of the majesty of the originating building. We have to assume that somewhere behind the garages, there IS a house.

The opposite to this is a development such as Dolphin Cay, where the single family homes (other than the waterfront homes) are designed to be pedestrian-friendly, generally with a front porch. The garages are behind the homes, unobtrusive, and occasionally with living space above the garage – a home office, a guest suite, a recreation room.

The Old Northeast, a popular neighborhood in St Petersburg that is close to downtown, is pedestrian friendly, which adds to its appeal. Some of the homes in the Old Northeast date back to the 1910s – others are still being built, though generally on lots that previously had homes. Characteristic of the neighborhood, garages are typically behind the house, with alley access. The front porches encourage neighbors to know one another, as you’re much more likely to chat if one of you is on the porch and the other is on the sidewalk walking by. People are unlikely to walk up to your house and ring the doorbell just to say, Hello! When you’re within sight of one another, it’s only natural to nod, wave or strike up a conversation.

Hint: if you want to get to know your neighbors, take a dog out for a walk (yours or one that’s borrowed) – just remember that they’ll know your dog before they know you.

Posted by Sharon Simms | Currently No Comments »

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