There are plenty of coastal cities in Florida with mostly modern homes that are built to withstand intense hurricane winds. This is especially true on the east coast where the threat of a direct hurricane hit is much more common.
Luckily in the Tampa Bay area we are somewhat protected from the worst hurricanes that typically form in the Atlantic Ocean. This is most likely why we still have a huge amount of historic homes that were originally built about a century ago.
What’s the benefit of having neighborhoods that are filled with old homes? Isn’t it easy to assume that newer is typically better? When it comes to home ownership that’s not always the case.
Historic neighborhoods bring people together. Instead of a cookie cutter neighborhood where all homes are essentially the same, historic home owners have an inherent pride of ownership when it comes to the history and customization of their homes. This provides a great common ground when it comes to relating to your neighbors that also have a passion for the history and home remodeling.
With that said, you most likely found this article because of your interest in historic homes and neighborhoods in the St. Pete area.
Good news for you – The City of St. Petersburg commissioned a team of videographers to produce a really well done mini-documentary for each of these neighborhoods which are all featured in this article.
My goal for this article is to give you a quick synopsis of each area to compliment these Living Local videos. I’ll also be linking a more in-depth article for each neighborhood if you decide you’d like to learn more. Without further adieu, here are The Top 5 Historic Neighborhoods In St. Pete, Florida.
5. Historic Old Northeast
Old Northeast is one of the most well known Historic neighborhoods in the area and for good reason. This area really has it all.
It’s a gorgeous neighborhood with brick lined streets, mature trees, a close proximity to our amazing Downtown area, an active neighborhood association that regularly puts on events and even a neighborhood tavern and coffeeshop for locals to spend time at.
Old Northeast is more than likely going to be the most expensive historic neighborhood to buy a home in. There’s a few good reasons for this. You will find some of the largest and most extravagant homes from the 1920’s time period in this area.
You will also notice how few compromises there are living in this area. I had mentioned earlier how close this neighborhood is to Downtown St. Pete. It’s also walking distance to a huge waterfront park on Tampa Bay with running trails, volleyball courts, baseball fields and acres of green space where events are regularly held.
To the west of Old Northeast are all the conveniences of 4th street which include grocery shopping, fitness centers, restaurants, and retail. 4th Street is always seeing new developments and on the other side 9th street (also known as MLK) is also an up and coming commercial district with many new planned commercial developments in the works.
A few years ago I hosted a couch surfer from England and I took him on a tour through the Old Northeast neighborhood. He told me that the white picket fences and well manicured lawns truly embodied what he thought was The American Dream. I can’t say he was wrong, Old Northeast is about as good as it gets.
If you’d like more information on the Old Northeast neighborhood, feel free to look at this more in depth article I put together – The Top 8 Reasons To Move To The Old Northeast Neighborhood.
4. Historic Old Southeast
Old Southeast might just be my personal favorite. In fact if I had to pick one of these areas that best fit my personality it would definitely be Old Southeast. This area is close enough to Downtown but still far enough away to maintain a peaceful and serene atmosphere.
Living here you will mostly only see local traffic driving through and maybe the occasional folks that are on their way to enjoy the beautiful 14 acre waterfront park in Old Southeast the overlooks Tampa Bay.
Old Southeast is it’s own neighborhood however there are two other smaller neighborhoods that are usually lumped in with The Greater Old Southeast Area. These neighborhoods are Driftwood & Tropical Shores.
What I like about this area is it’s close to Downtown St. Pete, but still more affordable than Old Northeast. There’s also potential to buy homes in this area with legal rental units. Whether it’s a home with a guest house, a duplex, triplex or quadplex, this area is a great place to own a home with rental potential.
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It’s close to Downtown and also close to University of South Florida St. Pete so the demand for rentals will always be strong. What’s interesting is that most of these homes you’ll find that are legally zoned for rentals are primarily in these historic neighborhoods.
Would you like to learn more about The Old Southeast Neighborhood? Here is another in depth article I put together – Top 8 Reasons To Move To The Old Southeast Neighborhood.
3. Historic Roser Park
The minute you drive into Historic Roser Park you will realize that it’s one of a kind. If you haven’t noticed, about 99% of Florida is extremely flat. Even when it’s at a slight incline it still feels flat around here. There is virtually no terrain in St. Pete, until you stumble upon Roser Park.
It’s kind of like when you see a movie where the main character is lost in the desert. He sees a tropical oasis in the distance and can’t believe his eyes. It seems so unbelievable – an oasis in the desert, and it is because it was just a mirage the whole time. This is what Roser Park is like, it’s a hilly neighborhood that seems very out of place, but fortunately it is not a mirage.
Just south of the hilly portion of Roser Park, you’ll find the rest of the neighborhood filled with narrow brick lined roads. These roads feel like a maze at times – they twist and turn, get narrower and wider and can only be navigated at about 5 miles per hour.
The streets are about a century old and extremely uneven in parts. Some people may think it’s an inconvenience but I think it really adds to the character of the neighborhood. Plus you won’t have to worry about anyone racing through your neighborhood on these roads.
With the exception of Old Northeast, Roser Park is one of the closest Historic neighborhoods to Downtown St. Pete. It’s also much more affordable than Old NE. Parts of this area are still up and coming so it may be a good place to look if you’d like to buy a home that will appreciate over time.
There are also more small homes that are better suited for a young professional rather than an established family that could buy a larger house in the Old Northeast.
Want to learn more about Roser Park? Great because I also wrote a Top 8 Reasons To Move To Roser Park article for your reading pleasure.
2. Historic Uptown
Speaking of up and coming areas that are experiencing appreciation – Historic Uptown still has a lot of upward potential in the St. Pete real estate market.
The photo at the beginning of this article of the historic two story house is a home we sold in uptown. This house like many others in the area are being completely renovated.
This neighborhood is only a few blocks west of Old Northeast but you’ll notice the prices are drastically different. Old Northeast is established and doesn’t have a whole lot of potential for appreciation in my opinion.
Unlike Old Northeast, Historic Uptown still has plenty of houses that are dilapidated and can be scooped up and renovated which will help neighborhood values appreciate in the long term. This house we sold is only 3 blocks away from Old Northeast and it ended up selling for $541,000.
Similar homes in Old Northeast, a 5 minute walk away are selling for 700k-800k. Would you rather buy in a established neighborhood or one just around the corner that will eventually see appreciation?
If you’d like to learn more about Historic Uptown, here is a more depth article The Top 8 Reasons To Move To Historic Uptown.
1. Historic Kenwood
Kenwood has a vibe of it’s own. This neighborhood is currently one of the most desirable areas to live in St. Pete for a number of reasons.
First let’s start with location. A big concern for people who buy homes in the area is flood zone designations. Kenwood is located at one of the highest elevations in Pinellas County. Flood insurance is becoming increasingly expensive and if a major hurricane ever comes through, you will want to be away from the surge zone at the highest elevation possible.
Kenwood is also less than a mile from Downtown St. Pete and walking distance to The Grand Central District. Both of these areas are great places to go experience restaurants, bars, breweries, art galleries and all sorts of events. There is always something going on.
Another reason why it’s so in demand is it’s affordability compared to neighborhoods like Old Northeast. It is still an established, somewhat expensive neighborhood however prices are currently ranging in the 250k-600k range instead of 500k – 2M prices that you’ll find in Old Northeast. Both the homes and lots are smaller in Historic Kenwood, in my opinion that just means less space to maintain.
This neighborhood is famous for it’s dense concentration of 1920’s Craftsman style bungalows. Kenwood actually has the highest concentration of Craftsman bungalows in the entire state of Florida. These bungalows are typically pretty small which is why the owners are so talented in maximizing the use of space. I’ve always loved anything cozy and a lot of these Craftsman bungalows are the epitome of cozy. Check out this video we made a few years ago of Bungalowfest – The annual tour of homes in the Kenwood neighborhood. Looking to learn a bit more about the Historic Kenwood neighborhood? Check out The Top 8 Reasons To Move To Historic Kenwood.
What I realized when writing this article is that the vast majority of the historic neighborhoods in this area are centered around our Downtown area. It makes sense that back in the day the majority of residential development in our city was centered around the place of commerce.
Now that we live in the future things have changed a bit. It adds a lot of character to our city seeing these peaceful historic neighborhoods juxtaposed with modern buildings and tall skyscrapers.
Our city has some amazing history and not just the buildings. Did you know the first commercial flight ever took off from St. Pete and landed in Tampa? This was January 1st, 1914 which is the same decade most of this city was built. Now we see international tourists in our Downtown every day.
Like anything in life, owning a historic home has it’s pros and cons. The downside is monetary – typically higher maintenance and insurance costs. You will need to be pro-active about treating termites.
When you finance a home it will be necessary to get a clean 4 point inspection which makes sure the 4 major systems – roof, HVAC, plumbing and electrical are in good enough condition to be insurable. Depending on the condition of the home, financing like FHA and VA may be a bit tougher to obtain. Don’t let any of that scare you off though, these are all issues we can navigate.
The upside is owning a piece of history that you’re proud of. Enjoying the timeless architecture on a daily basis with the reading nooks, lofts and other unique spaces that add character from this time period.
As you can see these historic homes will allow you the freedom to live in a beautiful neighborhood. When entering these homes it’s almost like a time machine takes you back to a more simple time. This simpler time where life moved a bit slower and all was right in the world. Wouldn’t it be great if you could recreate that feeling at your home?