Advertisement
  1. Business

Developer wins right to restore historic former YMCA in downtown St. Petersburg

Published Nov. 27, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — The battle over the sale of the historic former YMCA building is over and developer Nick Ekonomou, who bought it more than a year ago, is ready to begin restoration.

"The project now moves forward full steam ahead," he said Wednesday.

Ekonomou said he has hired local architect Jack Bodziak and is engaging a contractor to convert the 1927 building at 116 Fifth St. S into short-term luxury rentals. It will also feature a wedding venue, restaurant and a members-only club. The South Florida developer also said he's about to sign a contract with Scatter Brothers Productions to film a documentary of the restoration.

Ekonomou previously had a contract to buy the old YMCA back in 2008, but changed his mind because of the recession. In 2014, he decided to become a backup buyer if a contract between the owners and music promoter Thomas Nestor fell through.

Nestor had been soliciting donations, seeking investors and making installment payments since October 2012 in a bid to buy the Mediterranean Revival-style building and turn it into a music museum and performance venue. He couldn't close on the deal in July 2014 and a circuit court judge ruled in Ekonomou's favor over who had the right to buy the building. Nestor appealed and lost. He then asked for a rehearing and a written decision. On Nov. 20, that was denied.

Ekonomou said the dispute has cost him and the seller more than $575,000 in legal fees.

"It's sad. That money could have been spent on restoring the building," he said. "We've prevailed and there is nothing in the world this guy can do to stop us now."

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Frances Werner-Watkins Julie Rinaldi
    News and notes on local businesses
  2. Left to right: Oak Hill Hospital Anesthesiology residents Daniel Eskander, Wayne Simmons, Jeffrey Huang and Benjamin Segil. Katie Stacy/Oak Hill Hospital
    News and notes on local businesses
  3. A total of 131 employees are scheduled to be laid off in January as Locale Market and Farm Table Cucina close at the Sundial to make way for a new food hall created by the developers of the Heights Public Market at the Armature Works in Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES
    In a notice to the state of Florida, Sundial owner Bill Edwards said the layoffs are expected to take place the first week of January.
  4. WeWork is opening Tampa offices at 501 E Kennedy Blvd. despite company struggles, including $1.25 billion in losses over 2019. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    WeWork has 200 planned coworking space openings as leadership tries to manage $1.25 billion in losses.
  5. Florida's unemployment rate was unchanged in October at 3.2 percent, according to numbers released Friday. LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP
    The latest numbers were released Friday morning.
  6. Apollo Global Management has offered $130 per share for Tech Data's stock in an acquisition worth $5.4 billion. If regulators shareholders approve, the home-grown company will remain based in Pinellas County, where it employs 2,000 of its 14,000 workers. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Private equity firms like Apollo create wealth for pension funds, financial institutions and individual investors by buying assets that typically are sold later at a profit.
  7. Some of Tampa Bay's largest companies are being sold or are up for sale. Times files and Bloomin' Brands
    Tech Data is just the latest in a growing list of public companies bought up by out-of-state firms.
  8. Hillsborough Community College solicited "non-binding letters of interest or intent” last month from developers interested in purchasing the Dr. Gwendolyn W. Stephenson District Administration Center on Davis Islands. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Developers have eyed the 3.7 acre waterfront parcel for years, but recent interest has prompted the college’s trustees to finally start the conversation.
  9. Tampa International Airport looking north. The Wall Street Journal ranked it the best midsize airport in America. [Times files]
    TPA took first place in the Wall Street Journal’s annual survey of U.S. airports.
  10. Tech Data's CEO Rich Hume (left) shares a moment with former CEO Bob Dutkowsky during a send off celebration for Dutkowsky earlier this year. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
    A private equity firm has agreed to buy Tech Data.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement