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Katherine Snow Smith, Times Staff Writer

Katherine Snow Smith

Katherine Snow Smith has been at the Times either fulltime or parttime since 1995. She started as a business reporter then spent a decade writing the Rookie Mom column with stories from her own family and advice from other average moms and the experts. She now covers business in south Pinellas County. Katherine has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina and is married to Times political editor Adam Smith. They have three children, two dogs and still feel like rookie parents much of the time.

Phone: (727) 893-8785

Email: kssmith@tampabay.com

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  1. Downtown St. Petersburg residential growth: It's all about the boom

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Downtown's residential development boom is in full swing. Three apartment buildings are completed, four more are in various stages of construction and six condo projects are under way. • By the time they are all finished, 2,031 new homes will be added within less than a mile of downtown's waterfront.

    The developers hail from Largo to Miami, Dallas to Cleveland. But with so many of them in the mix, how do they know they haven't overestimated the demand?...

    300 Fourth Ave. S Size: 40 apartments, five stories  Monthly rent: Eight market price units, $1,399 to $1,599; 32 affordable housing units, $874 to $949 Status: Recently completed, fully occupied Developer: Atlantic Housing Partners, Winter Park
  2. YMCA sold, will become the Edward

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG—The 88-year-old St. Petersburg YMCA has a new owner and a new name. Miami developer Nick Ekonomou plans to convert the decaying, but beautiful building into the Edward, an upscale vacation rental with fine dining, a spa and its own brewery.

    "It's named after my grandfather. The era of the building, that's when he was around and grew up. It reminds me of him," he said....

    Investor Nick Ekonomou plans to build 30 luxury suites or apartments at the four-story building.
  3. New apartments, retail coming to World Liquors corner on Central Avenue

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — The iconic World Liquors sign that has marked the corner of Central Avenue and 16th Street for 53 years is coming down to make way for a new retail and residential development. World Plaza Shoppes will have 13,000 square feet of retail at street level and 14 loft apartments above.

    World Liquors owner Paul Misiewicz and Pennsylvania-based DEPG Development Associates are partnering on the $5 million project. A newly constructed World Liquors will be the anchor tenant, taking up 3,000 square feet, about three times the size of the current store....

    World Liquors owner Paul Misiewicz is a partner in the Central Avenue project. The store’s ionic sign will be removed and the building razed.
  4. Blue Ocean festival makes an impact, but locals see a bigger splash next time

    Tourism

    ST. PETERSBURG — Billy Causey bought cheese and Tylenol at Publix on Third Street S, enjoyed the eggplant tapas at Ceviche on Beach Drive, ordered pumpkin lattes at Starbucks on First Street S and spent three nights at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront — all while visiting the Blue Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit.

    The Key West resident, a regional director for the National Marine Sanctuary Program, estimates he spent $500 during his three days in St. Petersburg. ...

    Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons introduced a documentary he narrated, Trashed, at the Blue Ocean Film Festival on Sunday.
  5. Blue Ocean Film Festival advocating for glass over plastic

    Environment

    ST. PETERSBURG — You won't see any of the speakers or visitors at the Blue Ocean Film Festival & Conversation Summit taking a swig from a complimentary plastic bottle of water.

    Event organizers are giving out only glass bottles of Mountain Valley Spring Water.

    Even though plastic bottles can be recycled, too often they end up missing the trash or falling off the recycling truck and make their way to the water....

     Desire Ong volunteers at the Glass is Life grass hut during the Blue Ocean Film & Conservation Summit in St. Petersburg, Nov. 3 thru 9.
  6. Something new in St. Petersburg: Third Thursdays in the Edge

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — A new addition to the city's social scene will launch this month in the city's Edge District, which stretches along Central Avenue from 16th to Martin Luther King Jr. streets.

    Already, St. Petersburg is home to the popular First Fridays in downtown and the Second Saturday Art Walk. Starting Nov. 20, it will have Third Thursdays in the Edge.

    The area made up of more than 100 businesses — including Paper Street Market, Designers Consigner, Milagros soap, Plain Jane, Bodega and Ricky P's Orleans Bistro — recently was awarded the Florida Main Street designation. Competing against other Florida communities, it qualified for funds to be used for promotions and improvements. ...

    Barbara and Ryan Beck of Philadelphia dance to the Billy Rice Band on St. Petersburg's Central Avenue during the First Friday event in June. [Times]
  7. Old YMCA building continues to sit idle while ownership dispute simmers in court

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG —For two years Tom Nestor has been considered the savior of the historic YMCA in downtown. Now he may be its albatross.

    It was late October 2012 when he stood in the sun-splashed courtyard of the landmark, built in 1926, and shared his dream with a small gathering of reporters and friends.

    "This could be a music factory for the Tampa Bay area. We estimate 200,000 people a year could come through," said Nestor, a music promoter who had just signed an unconventional purchase agreement to buy the Mediterranean revival building at 116 Fifth St. S for $1.4 million....

    In September, a judge blocked Thomas Nestor’s purchase, and another buyer stepped in.
  8. Sundial restaurants opening behind schedule

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — Although most retailers at the new Sundial shopping complex are open, its three anchor restaurants are behind schedule because of construction delays.

    Ruth's Chris Steak House and Sea Salt won't open until early 2015, and Locale epicurean market will debut in December.

    When the developer, the Edwards Group, announced its tenant list in August, Locale was scheduled to open before Thanksgiving and the other two would follow in December....

    The Sundial shopping complex is owned and developed by Bill Edwards. Although most retailers are open, its three anchor restaurants are behind schedule because of construction delays.
  9. Sunken Gardens hopes to renew its flock of pink flamingos

    Tourism

    ST. PETERSBURG

    A postcard picturing Sunken Gardens flamingos sent "Greetings from St. Petersburg Florida." A snow globe encasing two flamingos in a swirl of white particles served as one visitor's permanent reminder of the botanical garden and its exotic pink residents. Vintage plates, mugs, statues and pennants featuring flamingos have been Sunken Gardens' calling card for decades....

    Flamingos decorate various Sunken Gardens souvenirs collected by Bill O’Grady, supervisor of the St. Petersburg attraction.
  10. As St. Petersburg's Beach Drive hops, valet permits stop

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Beach Drive's success has bred traffic jams, parking shortages and the demand for more valet services. • Though these aren't the worst problems to have, Mayor Rick Kriseman and other city officials are talking with business owners to figure out how to address them.

    The Birchwood and Tryst Gastro Lounge welcome the people who flock to the busy half-mile commercial stretch, and want to offer valet parking to make it easier for customers. But the city can't issue the required permits because its valet ordinance allows only one valet service per block....

    Cassis on Beach Drive NE in St. Petersburg is one of several downtown restaurants that offers valet parking for customers. It is the only one directly on Beach. Others are on side streets.
  11. Historic cafeteria sold for $2.7 million, to become German restaurant

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — A deed recently entered into public record shows Times Publishing Co. sold its historic Tramor Cafeteria building for $2.7 million. Chicago-based Second City Properties closed on the building at 123 Fourth St. S in September. The sale includes a small parking lot with 18 spaces.

    Second City plans to convert the 15,000-square-foot building into Hofbrauhaus, a German-style restaurant and beer garden with locations in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas....

  12. Vegas Showgirls foreclosure off

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The foreclosure auction of Vegas Showgirls strip club at 10568 Gandy Blvd. has been canceled, according to its owner and the Pinellas County Clerk of Court's foreclosure calendar.

    Owner James Lowy, a lawyer in Tampa, said he is selling the debt to another entity as well as refinancing other assets to pay down the debt.

    "There is a solution," Lowy said.

  13. Blue Ocean Film Fest mixes Hollywood, marine science in St. Petersburg

    Tourism

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Blue Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit is set to debut Nov. 2 in its new U.S. host city: downtown St. Petersburg.

    Think of it as Comic-Con for underwater educators, filmmakers and scientists.

    There will be Hollywood stars, such as Oscar winner Jeremy Irons, who will screen his ocean pollution documentary Trashed, and star scientists, including legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle, whose work to save the oceans is the subject of the film Mission Blue....

    Jeremy Irons will screen his documentary, Trashed, about ocean pollution. [Getty Images]
  14. In a crowded market, new Publix on Fourth Street stocks up on extras to lure shoppers

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — Now that the new Publix at 3700 Fourth St. N is open, it's doubtful shoppers will still refer to the chain's other store two blocks away as "the good Publix." Many have used that term for the store at 200 37th Ave. N since the Albertsons across the street was converted to a Publix in 2008.

    Making its debut this week, the new store that stands where the Albertsons-turned-Publix once did features plenty of bells and whistles, including a salad bar, hot food bar, a lot of craft beer, a wine expert and a health and beauty adviser. ...

    Craft brews are included in the large beer section at the new store.
  15. Historic downtown St. Petersburg cafeteria to reopen as beer garden

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Tramor Cafeteria, built in 1929 and owned by the Tampa Bay Times since 1981, is under contract to be sold to a Chicago company that plans to open a German restaurant and beer garden.

    Hofbrauhaus also has locations in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Munich.

    The 15,000-square-foot space at 123 Fourth St. S has been on the market to sell or lease since 2012. The price was not released. The deal is expected to close Friday. ...

    The Tramor Cafeteria, owned by the Tampa Bay Times, will now become a German restaurant and beer garden.