Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

Regions Bank, horse sculpture are heading for Central Avenue in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — The 500 and 600 blocks of Central Avenue are going to get some new neighbors that will give the street quite a different look.

Regions Bank has bought a building at 526 Central Ave. across from the Florida Craftsmen gallery. One block up, at 627 Central Ave., a sculpture of a horse, about 10 feet tall, made from scrap metal and chains, is being installed as public art.

Let's just hope there's no army inside.

Sculptor James Oleson donated the horse that will saddle up in front of Dazzio Art Experience. Oleson teaches there and has his own gallery a few doors down.

Regions Bank paid $1.8 million for the 8,000-square-foot building that has formerly housed a jazz club, a restaurant, a cigar lounge and real estate offices.

"This purchase is part of our ongoing commitment to having a presence in downtown St. Petersburg," said Mel Campbell, spokesman for the bank based in Birmingham, Ala. He declined to give any further details, including what buying the 97-year-old building means for the bank's existing downtown location a few blocks away at 260 First Ave. S.

If it is renovated and made into a bank branch or offices, it will join other restaurants and stores on the street that are changing the look of the block. The 600 block of Central Avenue has already undergone a renaissance of sorts as artists and retailers have cleaned up storefronts and filled the spaces with galleries and shops.

"It's a place that's really an up-and-coming scene. I want to be a part of this kind of movement," said Oleson, who would sell a similar sculpture for about $20,000. "I hope this will be something to stop and look at for everybody going to Dalí and Chihuly."

The horse now stands on its 7-foot legs in front of Brooksville City Hall near Oleson's studio where he forges and welds his art. It's been there for about 18 months, but Oleson wants to give it a fresh audience. He will offer another piece to Brooksville.

He grew up drawing and painting but was drawn to sculpting partly by his grandfather Bud Oleson, whose metal horse sculptures live as public art in the grass along Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard. The younger Oleson works mostly with recycled steel and found objects.

"I find some in junkyards and sheet metal shops," he said. "A lot of people give me things because they know what I do. They bring me goody buckets."

Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at (727) 409-3642 or [email protected]

Comments
Activists call for tech companies to drop NRA’s digital TV channel

Activists call for tech companies to drop NRA’s digital TV channel

Activists are calling for Apple, Amazon, Google and other streaming companies to drop the National Rifle Association’s digital TV channel in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida school last week, putting the companies in the delicate position o...
Published: 02/24/18
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

The head of the Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations into the way they report job placement figures says he has no intention of stepping down.That’s unless he is paid five months severance.In a letter from his attorn...
Published: 02/23/18
Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

VALRICO — During his final few days, 19-year-old Dustin Snyder moved to a hospice house, surrounded himself with belongings from home, swam in a pool and visited the beach in Ruskin.Wherever he went, the terminally ill Valrico man had family beside h...
Published: 02/23/18
Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

TAMPA — The Downtowner may be heading to Tampa Heights — but not until Oct. 1.That’s because the nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership this week won initial City Council approval to expand into Tampa Heights."Tampa Heights is becoming an important gat...
Published: 02/23/18

Tampa lawyer gets 27 months in federal prison for insider trading

Tampa lawyer Walter "Chet’’ Little was sentenced this week to 27 months in federal prison for engaging in an insider trading scheme that reaped him and a friend profits totaling nearly $1 million.According to federal authorities, Little accessed comp...
Published: 02/23/18
More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

Three major companies — Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, and the cybersecurity giant Symantec — have ended co-branding partnerships with the National Rifle Association as a #BoycottNRA social media movement picks up steam.Enterprise...
Published: 02/23/18
Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citigroup is preparing to issue $330 million in refunds after the bank discovered it had overcharged nearly 2 million credit card customers on their annual interest rates, a spokeswoman said Friday.The bank, which has about 150 million credit card ac...
Published: 02/23/18
Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

ODESSA — The 63-year-old lakeside summer camp had no air conditioning or electricity. Cabin floors were often covered in grime, and cobwebs clung to the windows.But under new ownership, the 18.6 acres of Florida woods known as Camp Scoutcrest to memb...
Published: 02/23/18
BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

Millions of BB&T customers were unable to access their accounts after a service outage which the bank blames on an equipment malfunction. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based bank posted a statement on its Twitter page saying the problem persiste...
Published: 02/23/18
Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

ST. PETERSBURG — Tired of working as a yacht captain, Pancho Jiminez decided to get into real estate even though he knows it’s a highly competitive field in Florida."Realtors are every 10 feet around here," he says.Nonetheless, Jiminez is among 30 st...
Published: 02/23/18