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Salt Creek artists narrowing their options; St. Petersburg to receive some RNC spotlight

The empty buildings that dot the landscape near the Warehouse Arts District could soon be teeming with artists. • Since learning that the Salt Creek Artworks building at 1600 Fourth St. S is being sold, the 42 artists who have studios there have been working with local real estate agents and city officials to find a new home.

The current building will be razed to become a parking lot for a nearby fish processing plant.

In recent weeks, a few options have been presented. One possible spot is the old Silvernail building at 2235 First Ave. S, in the Grand Central Business District.

A group of artists recently toured the site and found that location to be quite promising, said artist and photographer Herb Snitzer.

Local investor Tom Gaffney has made an offer on the building in an effort to keep as many artists as possible under one roof, said Shrimatee Ojah-Maharaj, a manager in the city's planning and economic development department.

This wouldn't be the first time that Gaffney, a Tierra Verde investor, has come to the rescue for the sake of the arts. He owns much of the 600 block on Central Avenue.

The second option is the old Bank Supply Co. building at 222 22nd St. S, which is under consideration by local developer Phil Farley.

The third option is the Value Fair Market at 3951 34th St. S. A smaller faction of artists view this as a more viable option because the pricing at this location is similar to that of Salt Creek.

"All of these things are still up in the air because they're still negotiating," said Ojah-Maharaj.

In the meantime, artists are packing and must be out of the Salt Creek site by July 15.

• • •

Just in time for Father's Day, Big Brothers Big Sisters is launching its "100 Men in 100 Days" campaign.

In Pinellas County, there are 200 boys waiting to be matched with a positive role model. Officials with the organization point out that there's a greater need for male and minority mentors.

This is the second year for the program in Pinellas and officials are encouraging local businesses, civic groups and churches to support this effort.

For information, visit bbbspc.org/100men or call (727) 518-8860.

• • •

Tropicana Field and Jannus Live aren't the only spots to catch glimpses of delegates, politicians and national journalists visiting for the Republican National Convention.

But it's not all about the parties. Don't be surprised if some venues are booked for national television shows.

Word is that Gwen Ifill, a senior correspondent for NewsHour and the managing editor and moderator of Washington Week, both on PBS, will be holding court at the Palladium at Third Street at Fifth Avenue N.

The convention may be in Tampa, but the Sunshine City will gets its share of noteworthy events and guests. Stay tuned.

• • •

American Idol finalist Michael Lynche is returning home to St. Petersburg.

The Season 9 contestant known as "Big Mike" is a St. Pete native and has been living in New York.

Now the father of two young children, Lynche and his wife are back in town, said Tom Gribbin of Big3 Entertainment.

Lynche is on the Big3 Records label, which is owned by local businessman Bill Edwards, and has been working in the studio on a new project that will be released Aug. 14. A single from the forthcoming CD was released May 21.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at sgadsden@tampabay.com or at (727) 893-8874.

Salt Creek artists narrowing their options; St. Petersburg to receive some RNC spotlight 06/16/12 [Last modified: Saturday, June 16, 2012 4:30am]

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