Meet the NY billionaire building Tampa Bay’s tallest condo tower
John Catsimatidis is hoping that 400 Central will transform downtown St. Petersburg.
By Rebecca Liebson Times staff
St. Petersburg is a city built on a peninsula. With few options to expand outward, new developments are growing upward instead.
One project is set to soar above the rest on St. Petersburg’s burgeoning skyline: 400 Central Avenue. The condo and office tower being built in the heart of downtown will top out at 46 stories, making it the tallest building on Florida’s Gulf Coast. When he pitched the idea in 2019, “everyone thought I was crazy,” said John Catsimatidis Sr., the building’s developer with Red Apple Group. It certainly wasn’t a first for the 74-year-old billionaire. Born on the small Greek island of Nisyros and raised on the streets of Harlem, Catsimatidis made his fortune through grocery and gas stations before diving into the cut-throat world of New York real estate. In his hometown, Catsimatidis has earned a reputation as a firebrand who loves to stir the pot on his radio show, The Cats Roundtable. He was an early supporter of President Donald Trump and had political ambitions of his own – running for Mayor of New York in 2009 and 2013.
In this interview, Catsimatidis discusses his plans for 400 Central, explains why he’s betting big on Florida and shares advice from his new memoir, ‘How Far Do You Want to Go?: Lessons from a Common-Sense Billionaire.’