ST. PETERSBURG — There’s still a long way to go. But a development that would include the tallest building on the west coast of Florida got a little closer to existence this week.
On Thursday, the St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Agency, which is comprised of City Council members, unanimously agreed that the proposed $300 million development fit into the city’s Intown Redevelopment Plan. (Council Member Brandi Gabbard was not present for the vote.)
The developer, New York-based Red Apple Group, can now submit a building permit application with design and construction plans to the city, St. Petersburg director of planning and development services Elizabeth Abernethy said.
The hotel, condominium and retail complex would sit on the 2.27-acre parcel of land bordered by Central Avenue, First Avenue S, Fourth Street and Fifth Street in downtown St. Petersburg. Included in the complex: 45 stories of condominiums, a 20-story hotel and an 842-space parking garage. The site would also include a six-story building with office and retail space.
Much of the first floor of the modern complex would be reserved for retail, a fact that was praised by City Council member Darden Rice.
“I’m glad to see that there’s not any dead spots,” Rice said.
Obstacles remain, however. Corey Malyszka, an urban design and development coordinator with the city, said the developers had not, to his knowledge, gotten approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for their 515-foot tower. With Albert Whitted Airport nearby, that’s a must.
And Council Member Gina Driscoll said she was concerned about how the site would interact with downtown traffic. The plans as currently drawn have two major entry points to the complex coming from First Avenue South, an important downtown road.
“We certainly don’t want to create a situation where we’ve got traffic snarled or slowed to an unreasonable pace,” Driscoll said.
Malyszka said the city’s transportation department looked at the proposal and approved of the plans.