Make us your home page
Instagram

Tour visits downtown to check out a 'jewel'

The Snell Arcade building, right, built in 1928 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was touted on the tour.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

The Snell Arcade building, right, built in 1928 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was touted on the tour.

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg has spent a decade successfully shaking itself from its provincial slumber, but many outside the city still regard it as a suffix affixed to Tampa.

So the task Tuesday was simple: Lease three tour buses, cram them full of curious real estate professionals, and showcase the city's office towers, condos, museums and businesses.

"Our city I like to think of as a transformed jewel," announced Peter Betzer, former dean at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science and now president of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.

The tour first served up the south side of town, taking in Al Lang Field, Albert Whitted Airport, the Salvador Dali Museum and All Children's Hospital.

After a cookie and coffee break at 100 Bay Central, a vacant office complex that the city has been eager to lease, the caravan proceeded to take in the northern edge of downtown.

Progress Energy's new headquarters, the Fourth Street retail district, Mirror Lake, Tropicana Field and Beach Drive took center stage.

Television screens that unfolded from the ceilings of the buses flashed photos and details of vacant office properties for lease.

As the buses skirted the grounds of the 80-year-old Renaissance Vinoy Resort, the inky skies decided to end the spring drought with a cloudburst.

Sheets of rain whipped the bay between the bobbing sailboats as the final bus edged up to the newly finished north wing of the Museum of Fine Arts.

"Is there a more beautiful place?" Tom Kennedy asked. He was one of the invitees.

He leases offices for the real estate firm Grubb & Ellis in Tampa. "We saw everything today but the sunshine."

"If you want your staff living, working and playing in a vibrant college town, this is the place," Betzer concluded.

The tour had a serious purpose beyond mere bragging rights. The city's 15 percent office vacancy rate, caused in part by recent defections by Progress Energy and Banker's Insurance, is a sore spot.

"We tried to bring in people unfamiliar with downtown," said Paula Smith, who works for Osprey Real Estate Services and helped organize the show and tell. "We have more vacancies than we'd like."

James Thorner can be reached at thorner@sptimes.com.

Tour visits downtown to check out a 'jewel' 05/20/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 2:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. As Dow hits new high, Raymond James Financial reports record financial gains

    Banking

    On the same day that the Dow closed at new highs, investment firm Raymond James Financial reported record revenues and earnings for its fiscal third quarter that ended June 30.

    Raymond James Financial CEO Paul Reilly unveiled record quarterly revenues and earnings for the St. Petersburg-based investment firm. [Courtesy of Raymond James Financial]
  2. Florida GDP growth in first quarter 2017 ranks 21st among states, still outpacing U.S.

    Economic Development

    Florida's gross domestic product or GDP rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly faster than the nation's growth of 1.2 percent and placing Florida 21st among the states for growth rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Not too hot. Not too cold.

    These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  3. A new app will help you find your favorite Tampa Bay food trucks

    Food & Dining

    What's new: Food tech

    Local food businesses are embracing new technologies and partnerships to bring us extra deliciousness.

    Michael Blasco of Tampa Bay Food Trucks says that everyone always asked about an app to help find their favorite food trucks. There is, available for iPhones and Droids.
  4. Another Pinellas foreclosure auction fools bidders, raises questions

    Real Estate

    For the second time in six weeks, a company connected to lawyer Roy C. Skelton stood poised to profit from a Pinellas County foreclosure auction that confused even experienced real estate investors.

    A Palm Harbor company bid  $112,300 for  this Largo townhome at a foreclosure auction July 21 not realizing the auction involved a second mortgage, connected to lawyer and  real estate investor Roy Skelton -- and that the bank could still foreclose on the  first mortgage.
[SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN   |   Times]
  5. Clearwater-based USAmeriBank acquired by New Jersey bank in $816 million deal

    Banking

    CLEARWATER — USAmeriBancorp, Inc., based in Clearwater, is being acquired by New Jersey's Valley National Bancorp in an $816 million deal, it was announced today.

    Joe Chillura, CEO of USAmeribank, shown inside a branch in Ybor City in this file photo.
[KATHLEEN FLYNN l Times]