Make us your home page
Instagram

New York developer Red Apple Group pays $2.6 million for downtown St. Petersburg arcade

The New York company under contract to buy the 400 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg paid $2.625 million this  month for the historic  Florida Arcade  building directly across the street.
[SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN  |  Times]


The New York company under contract to buy the 400 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg paid $2.625 million this month for the historic Florida Arcade building directly across the street. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times]

ST. PETERSBURG — The New York firm under contract to buy and redevelop a prime downtown block has purchased an historic building directly across the street.

Red Apple Group paid $2.625 million this month for the Florida Arcade, a 1920 structure at 449 Central Ave. that now houses the popular Il Ritorno restaurant, the Kalamazoo Olive Co. and several other shops and offices.

The company, headed by billionaire John Catsimatidis, did not return calls for comment Tuesday morning so it is unknown what it plans for the arcade or whether the current tenants will remain. But at least part of the 15,000-square-foot building presumably could house sales and construction offices for Red Apple's project on the 400 block of Central across the street.

The company is due to close soon on the two-acre block and build what Catsimatidis has described as a mixed-use complex with a hotel, office and retail space and at least one, 41-story tower with residences.

James Ryan, owner of the Kalamazoo Olive Co., said he had heard that Red Apple, which is acquiring other properties in Florida, might use the arcade as its state headquarters. When Kalamazoo opened in mid-2010, there was nothing else on that stretch of Central except a chocolate shop and a rug company that was going out of business, Ryan noted.

"We were certainly part of the downtown renaissance,'' he said, "and that's why we're a bit concerned about whatever potential (rent) increases there will be that could price us out of that block after we helped it come back.''

Ryan said he and other tenants were given relatively short-term leases because of the age of the previous owner, a woman now in her 90s.

The $2.625 million that Red Apple paid Feb. 1 for a single, relatively small building shows the rapid escalation of prices in thriving downtown St. Petersburg. In 2014, a South Florida developer paid $17.25 million for an entire block closer to the waterfront where it is now building a 41-story condo tower, ONE St. Petersburg, and a Hyatt hotel.

Aside from the Florida Arcade, a two-story pink survivor of St. Petersburg's first real estate boom, the block across from Red Apple's project contains several other historic structures. Among them are the Kress Building, the Snell Arcade and the nation's first open-air post office.

Property on the north side of that block is owned by the U.S. Postal Service and Christ United Methodist Church.

Most of downtown St. Petersburg between Central and Fifth Avenues N is part of a local landmark district where preservation of historic buildings is encouraged but not mandatory. A previous owner of the 400 block of Central recently tore down the 1920s-era Pheil buildings there to make way for Red Apple's project.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate

New York developer Red Apple Group pays $2.6 million for downtown St. Petersburg arcade 02/14/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 2:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]