May is National Historic Preservation month. To celebrate each week’s blog during May will be devoted to historic preservation in the Sunshine City of St. Petersburg, starting with the Flori De Leon, the first co-operative on the West Coast of Florida.
The Flori De Leon, affectionately referred to as, “The Old Girl,” by many of her admirers, is located at 130 4th Avenue N and is one of St. Petersburg’s finest 55+ communities. She holds the distinction of being the first co-operative on the West Coast of Florida and still remains a co-operative today.
Built in 1926 and on the Historic Register, the Flori De Leon is listed as Mediterranean Revival in style and features seventy-six apartments, including two internal penthouses and two external ones. Constructed before the advent of air-conditioning, the Flori is built in the shape of the letter “H” for ventilation purposes. New York Yankee legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig once called two of the penthouses home.
What is a Co-operative?
In a nutshell, a housing cooperative is a type of housing owned by a corporation made up of the owners within the co-op. The corporation owns the interior, exterior, and all common areas of the building. Instead of buying property as you would in a traditional real estate transaction, you are buying a share of the corporation that controls the co-op, which entitles you to living space.
How a Co-op works
When you buy into a co-op, instead of getting a piece of property with a standard deed, what you are actually getting is a share in the project. Co-ops are typically managed without the aim of earning a profit, with every shareholder tenant sharing in the expenses for maintenance and services.
When it comes to the structure of co-ops, there are different ownership responsibilities to be aware of. The collective co-op association is responsible for the management of membership fees to cover building maintenance, property taxes, amenities and any underlying mortgages attached to the property and its units. Given that every tenant is a shareholder, all members of the association get to vote on co-op rules and on how the building will be managed. To help with the administrative work, a co-op board is typically elected from those in the association wishing to volunteer. Management companies are also often hired to aid the co-op with day-to-day decision-making.
More about the Flori
Units range in size from studio and one-bedroom apartments to two-bedroom, two-bath penthouses. Residents enjoy community amenities such as a fitness center, library, roof-top decks, beautifully appointed common areas, hobby room and in-house laundry. Best of all, the Flori is located within walking distance to Beach Drive, the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, the Dali Museum, Northshore Park, Vinoy Renaissance Resort, the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, and a multitude of marinas, nightlife, and restaurants.
According to St. Petersburg realtor Estelia Mesimer, some of the most popular properties these days are for people 55 and older. Just as Baby Boomers changed music, business, pop culture, politics and nearly everything else, they are now transforming the idea of older group living. Unlike a previous generation of 55-plus Americans, active baby boomers do not show a great desire to settle into rocking chairs.
Realtor Help When Buying a 55+ Property
If you are considering buying a home or a condo in a 55+ community, there is a lot you should know. Buying what may be your last home is significantly different than buying your first, and you will need to account for some factors that are unique to later life and the communities that cater to older buyers. This is where the expertise of a professional realtor is so important. Contact Estelia today at Estelia@Estelia.com or call her 727.686.2859. She is a top local real estate partner for buyers and sellers of residential properties for over 22 years.
So Alive After 55: Your Guide To The Finer Points Of Active Adult Living, by Theresa Fowler Webb
Your Senior Housing Options, by Diane Twohy Masso
What to Know About 55-Plus Communities
St. Petersburg Communities
If you’re interested in any of these of communities or live in one of them and are thinking of selling, call Estelia today.
Greater Pinellas Point
Historic Old Northeast
Historic Roser Park
Isla del Sol