Wanted: A developer for a prime block in St. Pete's booming Edge District

The City of St. Petersburg has issued a request for proposals to buy and redevelop the current headquarters of the Police Department.
Published January 8
Updated January 8

ST. PETERSBURG — The city of St. Petersburg is looking for someone to develop and buy a prime piece of property — a block in the booming Edge District.

This week, the city issued a request for proposals for the 1300 block of 1st Avenue N, currently home to the Police Department. A new $80 million headquarters is expected to be finished this year across the street.

It is not often that an entire urban block becomes available, and "in my opinion there will be a great deal of interest from developers,'' said Patrick Calhoon, a commercial real estate broker.

Calhoon noted that the block is in the middle of the Edge District and close to the 85-acre site of Tropicana Field, now home to the Tampa Bay Rays but slated for massive redevelopment.

"The Edge District itself has so many projects going on, it's a burgeoning area with a ton of new residences,'' Calhoon said. "And ultimately, whether the Rays leave or not, something substantial will be done with the (85 acres) and that will really change the entire scope of that area.''

The city says it will give priority to proposals for a development with mixed-income housing, rooftop activities or amenities, ground-floor retail along 13th Street and First Avenue N, office space and "possibly a hotel.''

Priorities also include "creation of the highest number of permanent, full-time jobs,'' no rezoning of any part of the property and a "timely development plan and construction schedule.”

The request for proposals, which are due May 10, says the chosen developer would lease with an option to buy the site when the project is finished. The property, roughly two acres, is valued at $6.6 million but Calhoon said he expects it would sell for much more given recent prices near downtown.

Spanning the area between 16th and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets and First avenues N and S, the Edge District arguably has become the city's trendiest neighborhood. Dozens of restaurants, shops and galleries have sprouted in the past few years as the boundaries of downtown push ever westward. Just across 16th Street two big new apartment buildings are under construction.

Given the district's explosive growth, the city will require the developer of the Police Department site to provide 300 public parking spaces in addition to the parking needed for the development itself.

The current police headquarters was built in the 1950s and expanded in the 1970s. Developer Jonathan Daou, who owns several properties in the Edge District, said he thinks the original building should be saved.

"It's a historic police building that's been in perpetual use,'' he said."I proposed more than four years ago to the city that I'd be interested in preserving it and making it affordable office space for the neighborhood, which is crying out for help with rising rents.''

Daou added, though, that it would be "wonderful'' to have more workforce housing in the area.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.

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