Make us your home page
Instagram

Crislip Arcade revitalization rooted in art

ST. PETERSBURG — Here's how dreams grow: Donna Gordon, sculptor, saw an article about low-rent studio space in the dilapidated 600 block of Central Avenue.

On Tuesday, she's opening Donna Gordon Gallery & Studio, a sleek bright space at 625 Central. Her studio's in the back.

Out front is her new passion. She's now a gallery owner.

"This is incredible," she said.

Up and down the block, entrepreneurs are pouring heart and money into historic spaces around Crislip Arcade. Seven new businesses are open, with 11 to follow. Thomas Gaffney, who bought the properties for $2.3 million in 2008 intending to bulldoze them, has instead fed City Council member Leslie Curran's vision of an artist colony.

Gaffney's contractors have replaced drywall, removed linoleum from historic hex floors, renovated ceilings, put in new air conditioning and rebuilt plumbing for bathrooms. Early adopters like Gordon and her neighbor two doors down, Sara Stonecipher of Misred Outfitters, dived in on details like paint colors for the block. The neighbors envision branding their stretch "the 600 Block" and embracing other streets in an arts district.

Although the rent is a great deal — Gordon put down a deposit to get a five-year lease at $5 a square foot, while neighbors without deposits pay $8 — she'll tell you it hasn't been cheap. Renters have invested in their own spaces, scraping old block floors, painting, adding lighting and building displays. She figures she has put in $10,000. Renters cover their own maintenance, insurance and electric bills. She estimates her costs at $10 a square foot. That's still nearly half the $22 most owners fetch for downtown retail space.

It will let her invest in her artists.

She's offering them 65 percent instead of a common 50-50 split of sales. In the gallery, Gordon's bronze sculpture joins colorful, whimsical works by Jack Barrett, Scott Moore, Gus Ocamposilva, Cecilia Lueza, Leslie Orgera and Andrea Pejack.

Gordon, 52, has reinvented herself before, from an investment manager to a full-time sculptor. That was a decade ago. Nudged by Curran to widen her sights to a gallery, she has jumped again — though the timing hurt. She and her husband, George Gordon, had just purchased Enporion, the Tampa company he runs. They're renovating a 1920s Spanish colonial in Jungle Prada.

Still, you'll find her in the back, from noon to 6 Tuesday through Saturday.

"I just realized it was the opportunity of a lifetime," she said.

Reach Becky Bowers at [email protected] or (727) 893-8859. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/bbowerstimes.

Fast facts

What's new

on the 600 Block

Open:

• Rhino Studios, 659 Central Ave.

• Blue Lucy, 653 Central Ave.

• Vitale Art & Design Studio, 651 Central Ave.

• Dazzio Art Experience, 631/627 Central Ave.

• Donna Gordon Gallery & Studio, 625 Central Ave.

• All Sewn Up Boutique, 621 Central Ave.

• Misred Outfitters, 615 Central Ave.

Opening soon:

• Krogmann Iron, 659 Central Ave.

• Mike Elwell, sculptor, 655 Central Ave.

• Robinson Brand Builders, 649 Central Ave.

• DS Frutko, art, 635 Central Ave.

• Taj & Salomon Design Studio, furniture/home decor, 633 Central Ave.

• Annex of [email protected], front of arcade

• Art On Central, front of arcade

• Croatian Naïve Art, in arcade

• MQC Fine Art Gallery, in arcade

• Rex A Million, clothing graphics, in arcade

• Vanity On Central, makeup studio, Sixth Street

Source: Misred Outfitters

Crislip Arcade revitalization rooted in art 03/06/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 5, 2010 6:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
[LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Times
 file photo]

  2. Tampa Chamber of Commerce announces small business winners

    Business

    TAMPA — The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce selected the winners of the 2017 Small Business of the Year Awards at a ceremony Wednesday night at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. More than 600 attendees celebrated the accomplishments of Tampa Bay's small business community.

    Vincent Cassidy, president and CEO of Majesty Title Services, was named Outstanding Small Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

  3. International array of artists chosen as finalists for pier project

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A diverse group of six artists will compete for a chance to install their work at the city's multimillion-dollar Pier District, expected to open in early 2019.

  4. Gourmet food fight between top chefs raises $200,000

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — The chefs came armed with their secret ingredients — pork rinds, truffle butter, pork bellies.

    (From left to right) Chefs Ryan Mitchell, Michael Buttacavoli, Ted Dorsey and Matthew Brennan compete during Tampa Bay Food Fight at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event features chefs from the Tampa Bay area and benefitted Metropolitan Ministries. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
  5. HSN star Joy Mangano promotes new book: Inventing Joy

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — After more than 30 years, Joy Mangano knows a thing or two about promoting products. Now she's promoting herself.

    Inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano is releasing her first new book, Inventing Joy on Nov. 7. [TIERRA SMITH | Times]