Contemporary Living with an Edge

Located in St. Petersburg, Fla., the award-winning Fusion 1560 offers 325 luxury apartment homes with style and sophistication.

By Carina Calhoun
Photography by Taylor Architectural Photography

At Fusion 1560 in the downtown district of St. Petersburg, Fla., it’s all about location and lifestyle. In a city that has been rejuvenated and revitalized recently, the community’s ultra-urban influence the eclectic atmosphere. Completed in May 2011, Fusion 1560 is still making a name for itself by being the winner of many awards and most recently the National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) 2012 Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards for “Best Mid-Rise Apartment” and “Multifamily Community of the Year.”

From the start, Zaremba Residential Company, the developer of the project and Humphreys & Partners Architects, L.P., had a direct vision. “The client wanted to expand on the downtown district look and feel — while doing so in a way that would also be sophisticated, modern and upscale,” said Mark Humphreys, CEO of Humphreys & Partners Architects. He added, “The area surrounding the site is full of such a mix of old and new structures, with a mix of bright colors and edgy details.”

According to Humphreys, since there were already numerous shops and restaurants present, and Tropicana Field across the street, he knew we needed to create something that engaged the pedestrian. He explained, “At the same time, we were also somewhat pioneering the idea of introducing upscale living in this part of downtown. The goal was to appeal to a demographic that was not so much age-specific, but more lifestyle-driven. The target renter here would be one who wanted the proximity of the location, but at a higher grade finish and style-wise than anything else offered in the neighborhood.”
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With four and five stories of residential and a seventh level amenity deck, this project represents a paradigm shift for St. Petersburg’s downtown which is catering to an increasingly urbanite population of younger professionals. Units feature brick-wall accents, frosted glass doors, storefront windows, polished concrete or wood laminate flooring, unique cabinetry including open shelving and metal doors and unexpected extras like bike hangers and dual-head showers in most units. According to Humphreys, part of the challenge of the site was creating something that would match the eclectic quality of the surrounding neighborhood while managing the scale and size of the building itself, which covers two blocks and more than three acres. Humphreys explained, “In looking to the elevations, we made use of several different materials that would help break up the long runs of windows and balconies — sometimes making the building look more like a grouping of several smaller buildings rather than one large block.” Traditional stucco was accented with metal and corrugated panels as well as brick to provide variety. Beyond the materials, bright and modern colors help to create additional rhythm along the exterior of the building.

According to Walter Zaremba, chairman of Zaremba Residential, several site challenges, including a creek running through the site and the vacating of a city street required creative planning of the building. Distinctive paving and materials in the courtyard over the creek maintain a connection between the finished common areas and the creek area below. The city and surrounding community embraced the vision of the project as a catalyst for expanding the walkable downtown area. Careful coordination and approval from the city was required for the creek area, with the design providing for access by the city if required to clear creek. Unique paving and materials in the courtyard over the creek maintain a connection between the finished common areas and the creek area below.
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There are seven unique floor plans to choose from ranging from a one-bedroom and onebathroom to a two-bedroom, two-bathroom. Inside, the apartments feature stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors and quartz countertops with tile backsplashes. Porcelain tile flooring in bathrooms, washer and dryer in all units as well as air conditioning, spacious closets and ceiling fans and more.

Fusion 1560’s unique highly modern architecture is highlighted by the natural accents of lush landscaping and two beautiful courtyards. Much of the character of Fusion 1560 comes from the various special finishes and details found throughout the building — inside and out. One particular element that is both a program feature as well as a finish feature is the large sloped glass fitness center and wifi café. “The client had a very comprehensive program for amenities for the building — hoping to achieve a hospitality-feel to the property,” stated Humphreys. The fitness center and wifi café, which are typically elements that are internal to most buildings of this type, are featured front and center in two levels facing the sidewalk and main building lobby. The hope was to engage pedestrian traffic and provide a glimpse into the unique clubhouse spaces of the building to anyone passing by. Material elements in the units themselves, including brick wall accents, sliding barn doors and frosted glass doors, as well as open shelving in the kitchens, were included to impart a loft-like and almost historic feel to this brand-new development.

Other sophisticated and stylish standouts at Fusion 1560 are the abundant amenities. Among them is the rooftop amenity deck with an outdoor kitchen, covered cabana area, clubroom with media area, billiards area, demonstration kitchen, private dining room or conference room and a highly designed courtyard with grilling area, gathering areas and sculpture garden. This apartment community serves renters that are seeking a lifestyle and amenities of a condominium but with the professional management that comes of an apartment community.
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“Fusion 1560 stands apart by the way in which it melds in seamlessly with its surroundings. It was not built to change the feel of its neighborhood, but rather to expand and build upon the character that existed there,” said Humphreys. He continued, “The unique touches — from the materials to the amenity layout and program to the colors — were bold choices that, in many respects, were pioneering for the location. All came together to a community whose residents enjoy the convenience of the location, but who also enjoy many upscale features — from the demonstration kitchen to the spa facilities to the fitness center — that they can look to as part of their home.”

The community’s ultra-urban, modern industrial architecture and contemporary lifestyle are truly original. “It is our hope that Fusion 1560 was an award-winner by the fact that it does not take the ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to development. The look and feel of the project aimed from the beginning to be an original and fresh addition to the site. Of course, the walkable location has certainly contributed to its success, but in addition to that, it’s also the clever and chic touches — unconventional and upscale unit and kitchen layouts, expansive club and amenity areas, bike hangers in the units, quirky courtyards with signature artwork, a rooftop deck with a view — as well as a very involved and engaging staff, that make Fusion 1560 an address that is sought after,” stated Humphreys.

Carina Calhoun is the editor of Builder and Developer magazine. She may be contacted at ccalhoun1@penpubinc.com.

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