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Vincent Celano is capturing the St. Pete ‘vibe’ at 400 Central Avenue

When the 46-story Residences at 400 Central Avenue, in St. Petersburg, is completed, in about a year, it will be the tallest residential structure on Florida’s west coast. But if it’s up to interior designer, Vincent Celano, the unique living experience for the residents, and their guests, will create as much of a sensation as the tower’s soaring height.

The Toronto-born, Brooklyn-raised, Celano is working to capture the essence of an elevated St. Petersburg for the well-traveled, sophisticated buyers who have been snapping up the residences at a brisk pace since the tower broke ground, in 2022. A little bit “beachy” (the building’s wide, sweeping terraces have unparalleled views of the water surrounding the Pinellas peninsula) but still urban and artsy, Celano and his New York City design team, are working to reflect the exact feeling of life in the ascending coastal city that’s drawing people to move to St. Petersburg.

The residents, and their guests, will be, people who are “well-traveled, and if not well-traveled very well-informed,” Celano says. “There are a lot of lifestyle experiences that people want to engage in and be a part of their everyday life, in either their travels or their home.”

Rising at a pace of a new floor every week, to top out at 515-feet the $300 million project is being developed by John Catsimatidis Sr., the billionaire founder of New York-based Red Apple Group. The building’s exterior is designed by Arquitectonica, the Miami firm famed for projects from Shanghai to Sao Paulo, as well as many of the most luxurious residential towers in Brickell and Sunny Isles Beach. The Residences at 400 Central Avenue will include 301 luxury condominium homes plus ground-floor retail and restaurants, as well as Class-A office space. The glass-enclosed Sky Lounge, on the 46th floor, will provide exclusive views to residence owners. With prices starting at $1 million, the penthouse recently sold for $5.23 million.

A graduate of New York’s Pratt Institute with a degree in architecture, Celano has worked with some of the most prestigious design firms in the industry including Rockwell Group, Jeffrey Beers International and ICRAVE. He was a co-designer of such well-known locales as the LIV Nightclub, at Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau Hotel, and the French-Mediterranean hot spot Bagatelle in Las Vegas. In 2006, he founded Celano Design Studio to specialize in design, architecture and branding, and went on to complete a series of award-winning projects at international hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. Recently, his firm was selected to lead designs for some of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, its boutique Moxy properties, and has been charged with elevating the Fairfield Inn hotels brand with a modern redesign.

For 400 Central, Celano is tapping into the elements that will make life in downtown St. Petersburg special for a clientele who, literally, can live anywhere in the world but choose to be in St. Pete. The tower is within a short distance of eight art museums, nine parks (most of them on the water) and an ever-updating landscape of restaurants, cafes and upscale gathering spots. The design team is “developing these amenity spaces and really pushing the idea of what they’re about and what the activation is,” Celano says. “Whether it’s a small cocktail party or bringing in a chef … or bringing an art exhibit or something related to the community,” he adds. “Artists (are) such a key component to the area. Food is such a key component, right? So, how do we bring that in and make it part of the experience?

“I think it sort of sets the tone for like, ‘Hey, listen, if you’re going to come and do something in St. Petersburg, you’ve got to do something really, really good because this is what we’re all about.’ Right?”

Celano says he’s drawing inspiration from the vibe that’s bringing new residents to downtown St. Petersburg in unprecedented numbers. “There’s this sort of warm, intimate, yet moder, clean and fresh feel,” he says. “So, it’s really hitting a lot of different emotions and trying to define how the spaces make people feel.”

While exterior construction is underway Celano and his team are engaged in every step of the process. Their work begins in earnest once the tower is completed and the full build-out of the interior and amenity spaces is underway with an eye on what he describes as “a scale that’s not overwhelming but curated, and approachable, for residents and guests coming from all points.”

“People are coming from everywhere,” he says. “so how do we embrace this idea that people are coming from all these different parts, and they actually may bring something from where they are coming from. So, how do you bring a little bit of New York? (Catsimatidis) loves the idea of this, the sky terraces. New York was always about reaching for the sky, getting those amazing views of the city. So how are we doing that in these micro cities? … capturing these amazing views and looking at the city and the landscape from a completely new, and different, perspective.”