Susan Taylor Martin, Real Estate Reporter

Susan Taylor Martin

Real Estate Reporter

Call me a nosy neighbor. I’ve always liked checking out Sunday open houses, especially houses for sale around my area of St. Petersburg. And I’m a huge fan of HGTV shows like “Flip or Flop’’ and “House Hunters.’’ Maybe that’s why why I ended up four years ago as the Tampa Bay Times real estate reporter. It’s a great job, especially now that the market is hot. But there’s a lot more to real estate than pretty (or not so pretty) houses. I’ve reported on a good number of scams and the colorful characters behind them, including one fellow that my stories have sent to federal prison - twice! In my off-hours, I like to travel (was a foreign correspondent for 12 years), figure skate, hit garage and estate sales, read and check out new restaurants. I’m probably one of the few people who remember when downtown St. Pete had only four restaurants — the lunch counters at Maas Bros. and Woolworth’s plus Aunt Hattie’s and Uncle Ed’s. Alas, Aunt Hattie’s closed in the early ‘80s after a rat ran over a restaurant critic’s foot.

St. Petersburg's Westminster senior living facilities may be part of a possible merger with Pennsylvania nonprofit

Westminster Palms on Beach Drive NE in St. Petersburg  is among three senior living facilities owned by Westminster Communities of Florida.  [Photo from Google]
WestminsterCommunities of Florida is considering a merger with Pennsylvania-based Presbyterian Senior Living.

Two Tampa companies accused of selling 'virtually worthless' health insurance plans to hundreds of thousands of consumers nationwide

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, at a rally in Pinellas County in 2013. Two Tampa companies are accused of selling policies  that don’t comply with the act. [CHRIS URSO | Times (2013)]
A federal class action complaint says the Tampa companies targeted a 'vulnerable' group of Americans.

In Tampa Bay, penthouses aren't just for those at the top anymore

This penthouse in Clearwater’s Grande on Sand Key condominium is on the market for $4-million. It is a penthouse in the traditional sense of the word as it is on the top floor. [Courtesy of Cary John, Florida Visual Marketing]
Many condos are being marketed as penthouses even though they don't meet the dictionary definition

New Virage condo tower on Bayshore Boulevard damaged by possible vandalism

OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
The Virage Bayshore, a 24-story condominium tower is under construction on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.
One floor was flooded and equipment damaged in the 24-story building.

One of the original Davis Islands homes sells for $3.9 million

This home built in 1925 was one of the original homes on Davis Islands. [Courtesy of Coldwell Banker]
The house, on the National Register of Historic Places, was developed by Tampa native D.P. Davis.