TAMPA - The Tampa Bay area's apartment industry continues to run red-hot, with the entry of a Birmingham, Ala., company planning a 400-unit apartment complex in Tampa's Citrus Park area.
Arlington Properties, which owns and manages apartment communities around the South, has a contract on 60 acres just south of Gunn Highway and east of the Veterans Expressway.
For now, that land is populated with horse farms and a few houses, but Arlington envisions a community with 20 two-story apartment buildings, five three-story buildings and five "carriage-style" buildings, which are two-story buildings featuring apartments over garages.
The company is working on the project with a local developer, Joel Mies, and is awaiting a building permit from Hillsborough County. They hope to break ground in October, Arlington Properties Vice President Mark Stuermann said.
For now, the project is just called Citrus Park Apartments, but Arlington Properties likely will give it a more creative name, Stuermann said.
The Bay area has seen a remarkable surge in apartment development lately, with at least 7,000 units recently completed or in some stage of planning and development. At the same time, housing investors have snapped up a few thousand single-family homes in the region and put them on the market as rentals.
All of this creates a lot of competition and raises questions about how many rentals the area can handle.
However, Stuermann said many of the other projects are apartment towers or five-story mid-rise buildings in urban settings such as downtown Tampa or Tampa's Westshore district. These other projects command rents of about $1.80 per square foot, or about $1,800 a month for a 1,000-square-foot unit.
He said Arlington Properties' project is unique lately in targeting a suburban setting with more modest rents of $1.22 per square foot, or roughly $830 for the smallest unit to just shy of $1,700 for the biggest.
"There seems to be a niche for people who don't want to pay $2 or $1.80 per square foot for rent," Stuermann said.
Arlington Properties has some environmentally sensitive elements to its Gunn Highway property, including wetlands. Stuermann said the company isn't filling or destroying any wetlands and will build bridges over two creeks that run through the property.
The company is a new player in the Bay area's apartment industry, but its website lists 26 apartment properties around the South. Its biggest cluster is in Alabama, where it shows 16 complexes.