29 June 2010

St. Petersburg's Signature is a signature building

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.

13 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Thanks for your comment and hello to The Netherlands. Crispy clean is the perfect description!

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  3. Okay second try now with correct garmmer and spelling...The building looks Fantastic. Love all the glass, the shapes and the whole idea behind the building. It looks so crispy clean and contemporary.
    -Mel

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  4. sigh...sorry Paul my grammer and spelling is horrible today must be the heatwave and all the paintfumes :)

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  5. How have you been? It's good to hear from you again. How's the farm house by the sea?

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  6. It's good! The farmhouse is still a big money pit but it's Home. Where having this heatwave which is interfering with all the work on my new studio so i am sort of homeless and working from a tiny desk in a very small room on the top floor of the farm where we haven't done any work. It's me, the dog, a few spiders, and bat in a very rustic setting... reading it back it sounds like a scene from the musical Annie. We can't complain but enough about me, How are you? Has the big oil spil reached the shores where you live?

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  7. Invoking the musical Annie paints a pretty vivid picture Mel. Are you going to come back to blogging?

    The oil's not here yet but it hangs over this entire region like a dark cloud. I've written about it here more than a few times. It's heart-wrenching and it feels like we're mourning the death of a friend. It's not turning into a very good summer.

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  8. Hope they can contain it but one big storm and it's all over the place. Such a big disaster. Here in Europe you don't here much about it. It's gonna take years to clean up all the oil so sad.

    Back to Blogging??? ...well YES!
    I am having this end of my 20's meltdown which gives me heaps of inspiration ;)

    -Mel

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  9. Beautiful! Far more compelling than any Lighthouse. -Brenda-

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  10. It's good to have you checking in Brenda. First Mel(M.A)checks in from The Netherlands this morning and now you in Ottawa. Thanks!

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  11. Paul, thank YOU for letting me visit.

    Re the 'slick' I desperately am hoping it doesn't reach Florida's shores. -Brenda-

    P.S: (Last Tuesday we had an Earthquake of a 5.5 magnitude. Buildings shook 'n swayed and there was quite a roar, but no lives were lost or serious damage was done.)

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  12. I was following your earthquake in the news that day. Kelly James swears she missed it. It's pretty unsettling when the things you think are so solid turn out not to be. The oil's already in Florida, just not my part of Florida. Yet. It'll get here eventually but nobody knows what's really going on.

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