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Susan Taylor Martin, Times Senior Correspondent

Susan Taylor Martin

For someone who doesn't particularly care to fly, Tampa Bay Times senior correspondent Susan Taylor Martin has logged a lot of hours in the air — in the past decade she has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China. She covered the invasion of Iraq, the war in Kosovo and the war against terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan. On 9/11, she and two other Times staffers got in Martin's aging car and drove 24 hours nonstop from Tampa Bay to New York City, her hometown. Among the other breaking stories Susan has covered were the death and funeral of Princess Diana, the funeral of Jordan's King Hussein and the handover of Hong Kong to China. There have been lighter moments, too. Martin has written about a restaurant in Jerusalem dedicated to Elvis Presley's memory; a Scottish hamlet that finally got TV and hated it; and the gay and transvestite scene in Turkey, a conservative Muslim country. Her hobbies include figure skating, antiquing, flea-marketing, and rooting for the Blue Devils basketball team of Duke University (her alma mater).

Martin has won numerous state and national journalism awards, including the 2007 Paul Hansell Award presented by the Florida Society of News Editors for distinguished writing and reporting.

Phone: (727) 893-8642

Email: susan@tampabay.com

Blog: Hot Spots

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  1. AER apartment tower in St. Petersburg sold for record $127 million

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — AER, a newly built apartment tower in downtown St. Petersburg, has been sold for $127 million in Tampa Bay's biggest ever apartment deal.

    Camden, one of the country's largest owners of multi-family rental communities, said it will rename the 17-story, 358-unit building Camden Pier District.

    "We are pleased to announce the acquisition of this premier asset in one of our core markets," Richard Campo, Camden's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "We believe the purchase price is 5 to 10 percent below the current replacement cost."...

  2. Related Group sees a St. Petersburg condo tower in its future

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Miami's Related Group, one of Florida's top developers, would like to build an "iconic'' condo tower in downtown St. Petersburg, the company's chairman and CEO says.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: New year, new towers: More apartments to rise in St. Petersburg, Tampa...

  3. This Tampa Bay firm gives new meaning to 'break the bank'

    Real Estate

    LARGO —When it comes to a certain Oldsmar company, "break the bank" is more than just a familiar saying.

    The company literally broke the bank.

    A-Team Structural Moving Engineers was in the process of moving a former Anchor Savings Bank building in November when something went awry. The one-story structure slipped off the moving platform, causing one end to cave in and leaving the site on busy Seminole Boulevard looking like a California earthquake scene. ...

  4. She donated nearly $300,000 to Church of Scientology, which doesn't want it

    Real Estate

    On her Cozy Cottages website, Olga Favrow called herself one of the "leading authorities on real estate" in Tampa Bay.

    "You've come to the right place!'' the site said. "Learn how to earn 12 to 15 percent on your investment!"

    The pitch proved enticing: Investors from New York, California and Florida gave Favrow's Clearwater-based firm hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy, rehab and resell homes at a profit. But they say they never got their money back. ...

  5. 17 projects, $500 million set to transform St. Pete's skyline

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Construction cranes in every direction. High-rises where single-story buildings once stood.

    This isn't your father's St. Petersburg.

    Nearly a half billion dollars worth of construction is underway or expected to start this year in the city's once somnolent downtown. Museums, apartments, condos, a new police station and a dozen other projects mark one of the biggest downtown building booms in St. Petersburg's 130-year history....

  6. Land in hand for yet another downtown St. Petersburg apartment tower

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Buoyed by the success of its existing downtown apartment tower, a Miami company is moving ahead with plans for another one.

    And to the relief of nearby residents, the new tower won't involve any pile driving.

    Jason Robertson, vice president-development of American Land Ventures, said the company closed Wednesday on land on Third Street S across from its AER apartments. ...

  7. Do seller-Realtor matching services work? We put two to the test

    Real Estate

    Most home sellers are looking for a real estate agent who can do two things:

    Sell as quickly as possible for the highest amount possible.

    Uh, good luck.

    Finding an agent traditionally has been done through word-of-mouth and personal contacts. Agent X sold the neighbor's house, so let's try her. Or the accountant who does our taxes knows agent Y, so let's try him. That can work out fine, or maybe not....

  8. This is Tampa Bay's priciest foreclosure, and its history is as twisted as its boardwalk

    Real Estate

    TIERRA VERDE — Behind a tall iron fence lies one of the most unusual gated communities in Tampa Bay. And within that lies the most expensive and unusual bank-owned house for sale between Crystal River and Sarasota.

    The community is called Green Land Preserve. It is on a small peninsula, thick with mangroves, that juts into the bay from the road to Fort De Soto Park. The preserve has only four houses, including the $1.59 million foreclosure that agent Lambdin Freeman was showing a few days before Christmas. ...

  9. Swimming star Michael Phelps coming to Crystal Lagoon

    Real Estate

    WESLEY CHAPEL — The nation's first Crystal Lagoon has been filled, ready for a Jan. 5 ribbon cutting and a scheduled appearance this spring by Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps.

    Metro Development Group said Tuesday that the 7.5-acre lagoon in its Epperson master planned community in southern Pasco County now contains what has been estimated as 16 million gallons of clear, purified water....

  10. Steady rise in rental costs around Tampa Bay could slow in 2018

    Real Estate

    Do you rent in Tampa Bay? If so, you're luckier than many renters elsewhere.

    According to Zillow, rents in the four-county area are expected to rise an average of less than 1 percent next year. That's below the national rate and far less than the projected increases in Atlanta, Phoenix and many other Sun Belt cities.

    Tampa Bay's median rent is also relatively low — $1,360 compared to $1,435 nationally, the highest ever reported....

  11. Here's how the tax overhaul could affect homeowners in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Among the homes for sale on St. Petersburg's Snell Isle is a waterfront house whose owners have lived there so long the property taxes are just $14,706 a year. They've been able to deduct that entire amount on their income tax.

    If the house sells for the full $2.2 million price, the property taxes will jump to as much as $42,644. But the new owners will be able to deduct just $10,000 of that....

  12. Tampa Bay homes prices continue to rise but fewer homes are selling

    Real Estate

    Home prices surged in Pasco and Hernando counties in November, but sales were sluggish throughout the Tampa Bay area.

    Only Pasco saw an increase in the number of single-family homes sold — up 4.9 percent compared to November a year ago. Hillsborough, Pinellas and Hernando all showed decreases.

    The figures reflect what one expert calls the "pitiful supply'' of homes for sale and could bode poorly for the nation's real estate markets if inventory shortages continue....

  13. Lennar taps into active-adult lifestyle with homes near Tampa Bay's second Crystal Lagoon

    Real Estate

    WIMUAMA — Americans are living longer and staying a lot more active than they used to. The nation's home-building industry is eager to capitalize on that trend.

    Tampa-based Minto Communities has partnered with Jimmy Buffett on Margaritavilles in Daytona Beach and Hilton Head, S.C., "active-adult" communities where baby boomers can enjoy "days of endless adventure and nights of nonstop fun" inspired by Buffett's classic song....

  14. Florida's $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

    Real Estate

    In 2010, Florida was in the throes of an unprecedented housing crisis. One in every eight homes was in some stage of foreclosure.

    Today, the foreclosure rate is one in every 100.

    Due to that enormous drop, Florida's Hardest Hit Fund will stop accepting applications Jan. 31 for its three main mortgage assistance programs. The deadline signals a major wind-down of the $1.1 billion fund, which has helped thousands of struggling Florida homeowners like Dena Tingling....

  15. Flipping homes for big profits is getting harder in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Michael Sadeghpour was just 18 when he did his first flip.

    Using money saved from a job and borrowed from his grandmother, he bought a foreclosed condo in north Pinellas County for $67,000. He did some inexpensive renovations and flipped it for $125,000

    That was in 2014. Sadeghpour doubts he'll ever do as well again on a flip.

    Now foreclosures are very rare," he said. "And these new foreclosures that do come to market are not the same — these are fixed up properties and even if they're not fixed up they're asking market value."...