Another new boutique hotel is taking shape in St. Petersburg’s Edge District.
St. Petersburg developer Jonathan Daou’s Eastman Equity Holding is planning a 13-story, 114-room hotel at the corner of 11th Street and Central Avenue, according to a proposal scheduled to go before the City Council on Nov. 10.
The $26 million project would sit at 1111 Central Ave., largely on the site of a green space adjacent to Intermezzo Coffee and Cocktails. The Baum Avenue Market space at 1113 Central Ave. would remain and be converted into a restaurant.
Broad plans for the hotel were outlined in August, but the latest proposal tweaks the project’s footprint and offers more detail.
The proposal promises an “urban and modern” design from Tampa’s Alfonso Architects, with “an array of materials, vertical and horizontal banding and projections, cantilevered balconies and awnings.” It would have about 5,000 square feet of commercial space; a rooftop bar and restaurant; a street-level “urban garden” and “garden bar”; and a north-south pedestrian walkway linking Central and Baum avenues.
The hotel is intended “to feel something like old St. Pete and new St. Pete together,” Daou said.
“It’s really meant to be collectively something that the city would point to as the artistic expression of a city,” he said. “The nicer a hotel is, the more interesting a hotel is, the more people find that this city is interesting.”
This isn’t Daou’s first attempt at building a hotel in the Edge District. In 2019, he led development on an 11-story, 140-room hotel branded under Marriott’s Tribute at the southeast corner of 11th Street and First Avenue N.
Daou blamed COVID-19 for that project falling apart. Even with the looming threat of a recession, he believes the market is stronger today.
“Financing is always an issue, but we’re in a new era of awareness of Tampa Bay and its capability from a hospitality perspective,” he said. “We’re putting a huge amount of equity to make sure our financing is not a problem. There’s still money out there for hotels, because they’re in high demand. People are still coming to Florida.”
Outside the Edge District, Daou’s local hotel projects include a 2015 effort to convert a Fourth Street motel into a food hall, a project that fell apart due to parking issues. He is also a partner in the Inn on the Beach in St. Pete Beach.
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This new hotel would sit a block east of the Marriott-branded Moxy Hotel, which broke ground this fall at 1234 Central Ave. That 163-room hotel would feature rooftop dining and a garden area off Central. Daou also has a small stake in that project, which he said will be aimed more at younger travelers than his “independent and bespoke” new hotel.
“To us, this is meant to represent St. Pete,” he said. “I want the locals to take ownership in the hotel by feeling that they want to come hang out there.”