A year ago a building down the street from me got its certificate of occupancy after a nearly two year build. I can see over downtown from my living room windows and watching this building rise from ground was two year long thrill. The building is called the Signature and it's a waterfront condominium tower and street-level work/ live space. The building's a stunner and made all the more so when its compared to the usual dreck that gets built on waterfronts in the fair state I call home.
The Signature was designed by architect Ralph Johnson from Chicago's Perkins + Will. I cannot think of a more thoughtful and interesting building on Florida's entire west coast.
The complex is actually a complex of lofts and storefronts that ring the tower and all told the project takes up a whole block of downtown St. Pete.
I see the building from its northern elevation and when viewed from the north or the south it appears to be a monolith ringed with balconies and topped with a true roof.
Seen from the east, the building all but disappears. The leading edge of the tower comes to a perfect, 372-foot tall leading edge that faces the water. The architect designed the building to be an homage to the boat sails in the marinas downtown and his homage works. This is a 36-story building that's 372 feet tall and it appears to be as graceful and airy as any sail could ever hope to be.
In a fit of thoughtfulness, the building's orientation minimizes the blocked water views in the neighboring towers and it leaves a surprisingly small footprint on St. Pete's rightfully bally-hooed, accessible waterfront.
I walked around it the other afternoon and caught some of it's more pleasing angles. Things being what they are in the real estate market here, there are still units available in the Signature and at this stage of the game, the prices start at $185K. That's about a third of the entry-level asking price made available pre-construction. By local standards, that's an unheard of asking price. The building's extremely well-built and the level of finishes the builder built into the units is surprisingly good.
In every way imaginable, the Signature is a signature building for my beloved St. Pete and its place along waterfront marks a real departure from what's expected out of St. Pete. This was after all, once a city referred to as "God's Waiting Room." My how times have changed.