Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Opinion

Excitement greets Marbleside restoration; contest takes the cupcake

The buzz started more than a month ago.

Of late, downtown dwellers and business owners in the Sunshine City have started to hum with enthusiasm since learning that the Marbleside Building at 33 Sixth St. S is being restored. The midcentury modern building is home to City Gym and Lab Corp.

But the office space on the upper floors has been vacant.

The building was recently acquired by Maryann Lynch, owner of Times Square Properties, who has had a large presence downtown since moving to Florida in 1995.

The property is under new management. Offices and suites in the building range from 250 to 3,800 square feet. There are three work-live spaces in the building. Leases for studios start at $292 per month.

According to its website and Facebook page, "Times Square Properties is the premier leasing company for downtown St. Petersburg with more than 90 properties and 300 units within the downtown area."

Some in the community are applauding the restoration of a building that sits in the gateway of an area being reclaimed by and for artists.

The seven-story building is just north of the [email protected] and south of the 600 block of Central Avenue — in the heart of an arts hub.

Lynch is no stranger to renovations. Just last week, she bought the Stewart building at 233 Third Ave. S. Nearly three years ago, Lynch led an effort to transform an old fire station at 2701 Fifth Ave. S into an art gallery and event venue, Station Number Three. Two big events are in the works in that space: Keep St. Pete Local and the Warehouse Arts District will host big parties there this year. Stay tuned.

Cupcake contest

Three years ago, when the Morean Arts Center decided to shake up its fundraising calendar with unusual events, organizers couldn't have dreamed that cupcakes could deliver such a sweet windfall.

Now, the Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest once again promises to bring out creativity in both novice and professional bakers and bring in crowds of people who plunk down $1 a vote to pick their favorite confections.

In its first year, there were more than 90 entries, but this time organizers are limiting it to 65 entrants to maintain order.

Some of this year's offerings will include blood orange creamsicle, pistachio and sweet ricotta dream cakes with meringue buttercream. Yum!

The contest starts at noon Saturday at the Morean Arts Center in downtown St. Petersburg, 719 Central Ave. The event is free to sample, but it will cost $1 to vote. A new wrinkle this year: the center is using a raffle ticket system to make it easier to use credit cards to stuff the ballot boxes.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at [email protected] or at (727) 893-8874 and on Twitter at @StPeteSandi.

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