Make us your home page
Instagram

Buyer of historic St. Petersburg YMCA says he made final payment

The historic YMCA at 116 Fifth St. S in downtown St. Petersburg is a Mediterranean Revival-style edifice built in 1926. 

Times file (2012)

The historic YMCA at 116 Fifth St. S in downtown St. Petersburg is a Mediterranean Revival-style edifice built in 1926. 

ST. PETERSBURG — A jumbled push to convert a historic YMCA here into a downtown "music mansion" hit another chaotic checkpoint Tuesday, with the prospective buyer's attorney saying his client made a final $1.2 million purchase payment with minutes to spare.

But neither the seller, nor a second suitor hoping to renovate the aging building, could confirm late Tuesday that the buyer had squeaked in a payment before a tight afternoon deadline.

Thomas Nestor, a local music promoter, signed a purchase agreement for the center at 116 Fifth St. S in 2012, and with the help of partners and lenders, he has paid in installments, often by the skin of his teeth.

After a late payment earlier this year, Nestor and the seller agreed that he would have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to pay the $1.2 million balance for the Mediterranean Revival-style shell built in 1926.

Nestor said he wants to renovate the building into a complex, called the Music Mansion, which would feature a concert venue, a ballroom, a cafe, music classes for at-risk kids, and apartments or hotel rooms.

On Facebook, Nestor has seemed optimistic, saying recently, "One more Angel by this Tuesday keeps her in safe hands forever," and adding, "great accomplishments happen at the buzzer!"

Late Tuesday, his attorney, Russell Cheatham, said Nestor had paid the full $1.2 million but had yet to receive confirmation from Phil Powell, who heads the investment group selling the building. Messages to Powell were not returned Tuesday.

Built for $550,000 during the Sunshine City's 1920s boom, the Young Men's Christian Association, with its basement "natatorium" swimming pool and handball courts, became an off-time hub for generations of St. Petersburg residents. Growing over the decades to include women and girls, the center offered classes for boxing, dancing, trampoline, judo and oil painting.

"Back in the Depression," one former member told the Tampa Bay Times in 2001, "it was our home away from home."

But in the decades since, its charming antiquity has made it hard for developers seeking to turn it into something new. Powell's investment group bought the building for $1 million in 2004, intending to convert it to condos, but the project flamed out and it has remained empty.

Nestor's effort has also been plagued by problems, including struggles to raise enough money to meet minimum monthly payments. He has delayed for more than a year to apply for nonprofit status, preventing donors from earning tax writeoffs.

One contributor, Dr. Robert Wallace, who pledged $360,000 toward building social programs there, sued in May to recoup some of the money after he and Nestor disagreed on the plans. That suit is ongoing.

Another buyer said he's ready to step up with development plans of his own: Nick Ekonomou, a Florida State University offensive lineman in the '80s who has redeveloped apartment projects and single-family homes across South Florida.

Ekonomou told the Tampa Bay Times last month that Powell accepted a contract to sell him the building, for an undisclosed price, if Nestor's deal falls through. He wants to renovate with apartments or hotel rooms, a spa, restaurant and youth play area, as well as a home for himself. He estimated design work and permitting would take more than a year and construction would take at least two years.

Contact Drew Harwell at [email protected]

Buyer of historic St. Petersburg YMCA says he made final payment 07/15/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 10:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  2. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  3. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Coming soon at two Tampa Bay area hospitals: a cancer treatment that could replace chemo

    Health

    A new cancer treatment that could eventually replace chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants — along with their debilitating side effects — soon will be offered at two of Tampa Bay's top-tier hospitals.

    Dr. Frederick Locke at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa is a principal investigator for an experimental therapy that retrains white blood cells in the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved these so-called "CAR-T" treatments for adults this month. In trials, 82 percent of cases responded well to the treatment, and 44 percent are still in remission at least eight months later, Locke said. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Regulator blasts Wells Fargo for deceptive auto insurance program

    Banking

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images, 2017]