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Developers pitch options for downtown St. Petersburg site

The city received five proposals for building a new city office building next to City Hall and re-using the existing Municipal Services Center at Central Avenue and Fourth Street N.
A partnership between Third Lake Partners and Echelon proposes to pay the city of St. Petersburg $12.25 million for the Municipal Services Center on Central Avenue at Fourth Street N. It proposes to redevelop the old Municipal Services Center initially to add retail. Eventually it could be demolished to make way for new development coordinated with a project on what is now a parking lot next to the 28-story 200 Central tower. (Third Lake Partners/Echelon) [Third Lake Partners/Echelon]

ST. PETERSBURG — Developers have offered the city of St. Petersburg from $10 million to $12.25 million for its Municipal Services Center on Central Avenue, plus a range of options for building new office space near City Hall.

After getting an unsolicited offer for the Municipal Services building in December, the city said it would take other bids until Jan. 31. City Hall also asked bidders for proposals to provide new city office space on what is now a city-owned parking lot just north of City Hall, on Second Avenue N east of Fifth Street N.

Mayor Rick Kriseman likes the idea of moving city employees out of the Municipal Services building, which is located at Central and Fourth Street N, but lacks street-level retail to engage passers-by.

Related: Mayor Rick Kriseman: 'Having that center there kind of disrupts the flow on Central Avenue'

The original unsolicited bid of $12 million for the building, which would be torn down to make way for 500 residential units and 1,000 parking spaces, plus a hotel, offices and stores, came from Property Management Group, which has offices in New York and Miami. A $10 million offer came from Blake Investment Partners, headed by St. Petersburg developer Blake Whitney Thompson, who last week said he proposes to redevelop the Central Avenue building with offices and retail on the first floor.

Here are details of the other three proposals, which the city has since made public:

Third Lake Partners-Echelon

A partnership between Third Lake Partners and Echelon proposes to pay $12.25 million for the Municipal Services Center, and coordinate its future redevelopment with a planned expansion at 200 Central Avenue, home to St. Petersburg’s tallest office building.

Third Lake is a Tampa investment firm established by Ashley Furniture founder Ronald Wanek. Echelon, based in St. Petersburg, is the master developer for Carillon Park.

This rendering shows a proposed municipal office building and residential tower that a partnership between Third Lake Partners and Echelon has offered to build just north of St. Petersburg City Hall. (Third Lake Partners/Echelon) [Third Lake Partners/Echelon]

The partnership provided a couple of options for the new city office building, including a dual project with city offices on the west side of the site and a 20-story residential project with ground-floor retail on the east side.

The partnership proposes to redevelop the old Municipal Services Center initially to add retail. Eventually it could be demolished to make way for new development coordinated with a project on what is now a parking lot next to the 28-story 200 Central tower, which Third Lake bought in 2017.

Developing both together, the proposal says, would "help to create a stronger and more cohesive neighborhood experience.”

Lincoln Property Co.

Lincoln Property Co., based in Dallas, is offering $11 million for the Municipal Services Center, which it would redevelop with a combination of 400 condominiums and apartments, a 200-room hotel, 200,000 square feet of office space, 1,200 parking spaces and ground-floor retail.

It would build a “City Commons” project next to City Hall with 150,000 square feet of office space for the city, plus 100,000 more square feet of offices to lease, a 1,000-space garage, and retail, all overlooking a public plaza.

Allen Morris Co.

The Allen Morris Co., which has offices in Miami and Coral Gables, did not make a specific purchase offer for the Municipal Services Center. Instead it said it would agree to pay a price established by third-party appraisers so that the city gets a fair market price for its land.

For the Central Avenue site, the company proposes 280,000 square feet of some combination of ground-floor retail, offices, residential and/or a hotel, with no more than 10 percent of any residential development set aside for workforce housing.

Next to City Hall, it proposes a new municipal office building with five decks of parking at its base, topped by 150,000 square feet of office space, done in a Mediterranean style to complement City Hall’s design.

The Allen Morris Co. proposes to build a 150,000-square-foot office building for the city of St. Petersburg on Second Avenue N north of City Hall, but says the amount of office space could be increased or reduced depending on the city's needs. [Rendering courtesy of the Allen Morris Co.] [The Allen Morris Co.]

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