ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Edwards has added another $1 million to his investment in BayWalk by buying a vacant lot at 232 Second St. N to the west of the retail center. Shortly after the former Garden Cafe and Piano Exchange was demolished in August, he bought the property and plans to use it for short-term parking when the newly named Shops at St. Pete opens in early 2014.
"It's the most expensive parking lot I ever put my hands on," said Edwards, who paid $5.2 million for BayWalk last year. "The property values have gone through the roof since I bought BayWalk."
Edwards paid $75 per square foot for the vacant property for parking compared to $55 per square foot of land for BayWalk.
"You can't blame a guy for trying to make a buck," Edwards said. The former Garden Cafe was owned by Bill Pendergast, a founder of Jannus Landing. It was razed because the building was in such bad shape.
Edwards said he is interested in acquiring other property around the Shops but isn't in negotiations on anything at the moment.
Most patrons of the shopping center will use street parking or the city-owned MidCore garage. The newly acquired property will be for short-term valet parking in case someone needs to go in quickly and pick something up in 15 minutes or so.
"There would be no sense running their car up to the garage," Edwards said. "We'd just stick it in the holding lot for a minute."
Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at (727) 893-8785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.