Units at Victoria Place, 200 Main St., start at $420,000. The priciest units are about $900,000. The complex has 32 homes, and all but four have been purchased, according to real estate consultant David Kesler.
So why are people spending big bucks to live in an area reminiscent of a small town?
Kesler said he thinks new residents might have picked Dunedin because it’s a unique place.
“There’s really nowhere like this in Pinellas County,” he said. “This is an exciting thing.”
He said he has seen two groups of buyers: older people who live in the north and vacation in Florida, and people who have always wanted to live in Dunedin.
The complex is slated to open next fall. Construction started in April.
“Things have gone really well,” Kesler said.
St. Petersburg developer Mike Cheezem is known for successful hotel and high-rise condo projects on Clearwater Beach and in downtown St. Petersburg. Cheezem’s company, JMC Communities, is developing Victoria Place.
JMC marketing director Susan Jezek said the complex has attracted people looking for a quieter lifestyle.
“They love the charm of the town of Dunedin,” she said.
Another possible selling point, according to Kesler: There aren’t many urban living options downtown.
“You’ll never see any 30-story buildings in Dunedin,” he said.
Dunedin planning director Greg Rice said there are four other housing projects in the works, including townhomes on Highland Avenue and the long-delayed Gateway project on the east end of Main Street.
“I’ve heard some concerns from people that Dunedin is changing,” he said. “My concern is that if we don’t get some new buildings in here — the older ones have a shelf life.”
He said he was surprised by how fast the units at Victoria Place sold, though he expected people to be interested in Dunedin.
“There’s something going on downtown every weekend. I think that attracts people,” he said. “It’s walkable. You have all the restaurants.”
Babe Young, 88, lives on Victoria Drive within walking distance of the new complex.
She said she spends most of her time sitting on her porch, which overlooks at the water.
Young, who has lived in Dunedin for almost 40 years, said she welcomes new development — and new neighbors.
“If they like it, fine,” she said. “It doesn’t bother me.”
At Sea Sea Riders, a restaurant across the street from the unfinished complex, construction is visible through the eatery’s large windows. Restaurant owner Sylvia Tzekas said she was concerned about the construction in the beginning, but her apprehension has turned into excitement.
“We’ll be able to get a little foot traffic,” she said.
Once the complex opens, she said, Sea Sea Riders will advertise to its new neighbors.
“We’re excited for all the development here,” she said.