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Beach Drive building in St. Petersburg getting makeover


After a doggie day care failed to make it on Beach Drive, a building is getting a facelift and renovation that could house four new retailers to add to the street's growing activity as soon as January.

"We have a lot of proposals for eating and drinking establishments as well as some other retail, furniture and consumer goods," said Paula Clair Smith, the leasing agent for the 5,731-square-foot stucco and brick building with addresses of 234, 238 and 240 Beach Drive NE. It's directly across the street from the Museum of Fine Arts.

"The owner is investing in redoing the front of the building with glass storefronts" and dividing the building into smaller spaces, Smith said, adding that these new plans have generated more excitement from potential tenants now that it will have less of an "office" look.

Wags Dog Daycare Salon & Boutique closed in February after just about a year of offering organic flea baths, massages, facials and "pawdicures." Owner Kevin Keogh said he invested $100,000 in the 2,500-square-foot space.

"It was so much fun. We really enjoyed doing it," said Keogh. "But right now the economy isn't strong enough."

Permits are about to be filed with the city to renovate the building, which dates back to 1952 and is owned by ophthalmologist Tom Bell. Renovations will include dividing Wags' former space into two smaller spaces.

Another tenant, Weniger Financial, a division of Raymond James Financial, has also recently moved out of its 2,200-square-foot space to 149 Central Ave. That space will also be divided into two spaces. Alva International, a real estate business, will remain where it is in the middle of the building.

The four available spaces, ranging in size from 884 square feet to 1,561 square feet, cost $25 a square foot per year. But you have to tack on another $7 per square foot to cover the costs of taxes, water and sewer, insurance and lawn maintenance. So a 1,000-square-foot space would lease for about $2,700 a month, not including electricity.

Smith said the potential tenants interested in an eating establishment aren't table service restaurants, but would probably have outside tables.

"We're trying to encourage more pedestrian activity and evening activity,'" she said, adding that retailers she has spoken with would likely stay open late.

Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at (727) 893-8785 or

Beach Drive building in St. Petersburg getting makeover 09/25/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 25, 2010 4:30am]
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