ST. PETERSBURG — It’s a two-story frame home, built in 1912, aqua-colored with a metal roof and a handsome wrap-around porch. For more than a century it graced the 100 block of Fourth Avenue NE near the downtown waterfront, later becoming a local historic landmark.
On Sunday morning, it was headed north on Fourth Street N, making for an odd sight as dozens of onlookers gathered along the sidewalks. Crews cut tree limbs and lifted power lines to make way, and police directed motorists to take detours for the move, which began Saturday night and continued past noon on Sunday.
The relocation was part of a larger story — Old St. Pete making way for a newer version of the city that features gleaming residential towers, new restaurants and a booming night life. The operation clears a path for The Nolen, an upscale 23-story residential tower that is 65% sold. Construction will begin immediately and take about 20 months to complete. The project is led by DDA Development of Tampa.
The house, meanwhile, has a new location in the historic Round Lake neighborhood, on a shady lot at the corner of 8th Avenue N and Dartmoor Street. The developers estimate the move — part of the purchase agreement and a condition of city approval for The Nolen — will cost about $500,000.
During the move, the home was accompanied by a convoy representing at least a half-dozen public agencies and companies, including St. Petersburg police, crews from the cable company, the Department of Transportation, Duke Energy and AJS Building Moving & Leveling, based in Florida. It traveled west on Fourth Avenue N, then north on four-lane Fourth Street, one of the city’s busiest arteries, before taking a tight left turn at Eighth Avenue N.
“We’re tremendously impressed with the professionalism of everyone involved in this project,” DDA Development principal Bowen Arnold said in a news release. “There was exceptional care put into preservation of the house, as well as avoiding disruption to the neighborhood. It was an impressive effort.”
Amber Brinkley, a spokesperson for the project, provided a passage from the city’s historic preservation department that described the home’s history. It said the house originally was part of a cluster of homes and apartment buildings that largely catered to winter residents. Its first known occupant was a renter from Davenport, Iowa.
It was also used as a hotel for a time, and most recently operated as the Watergarden Inn at the Bay from 2012 to last year.
According to Pinellas County property records, the house and property under it at 136 Fourth Ave. NE sold to DDA Development in December for $7 million.