Kriseman announces Commerce Park picks
The long-vacant patch of land along 22nd St S, which has gone by at least two names, has finally found tenants and city officials are touting it as the first example of private investment in the newly-created South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area.
A consortium of marine-parts manufacturers and a motorcycle business picked Tuesday by Mayor Rick Kriseman promise to bring 65 jobs near to some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
“The Commerce Park has been a focus of my administration. I am pleased we have attracted these outstanding businesses to the area. I am particularly looking forward to the final lease negotiations with these two companies,” Kriseman said in a statement.
The 14-acre parcel between 6th and 8th Avenues S is one of the city's largest undeveloped tracts of land. First christened the Dome Industrial Park under former Mayor Rick Baker, the site languished during the recession. Kriseman has said developing the site, which lies within the CRA, was one of his top priorities.
EMP Industries will lead a mixed-use development project with two other companies: ACCMAR Equipment Company of Miami and ATTAJ Energy from Spain.
The companies will manufacture products for marinas, but they'll also be building 80,000-square-feet of housing and retail will front 22nd Street and will be "workforce housing," said City Development Administrator Alan DeLisle.
The city is still negotiating the final details of the contract before bringing it to City Council. DeLisle said the housing will be affordable, but might not meet government-definitions of affordable housing.
Other bids that promised affordable housing were rejected last year by Kriseman, who said at the time that the site needed to be focused on creating jobs.
Fears of gentrification have caused some residents to protest the CRA, including the local chapter of the NAACP.
The city is confident that the 65 anticipated jobs will satisfy the requirements of the $2.2 million grant from the U.S Housing and Urban Development Agency, the city said.
DeLisle didn't have an average wage or range of pay for the jobs for EMP or the second winning bid, Euro Cycles, which promises 15 jobs.
Euro Cycles will build a motorcycle sales, repair and training business, according to the release.
The companies will lease the land from the city---the terms of that lease are still under negotiation---but have the option to buy the land after 10 years.
That option will only exist if the companies hire low and moderate income workers and/or CRA residents, DeLisle said.
The more of those workers that are hired, the lower the purchase price will be, DeLisle said.
The development of Commerce Park is a signal that the city's plan to lure private investment into the CRA is working, he said.
“We think that this is gong to send a pretty serious message to the marketplace that this is a good place to expand and set up shop and there are a lot of advantages for this being put in play," DeLisle said.