ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A development company has its eye on an opportunity for new life and more community space by rezoning industrial land on the 22nd Street corridor of St Petersburg, just west of Tropicana Field.
In the 1900s, railroads set the stage for growth in the city. A map of St Pete’s zoningshows industrial zoning in two places where railroads once ran.
“We're standing on what was a rail line that we ripped out to make this patio,” said Mike Harting, owner of 3 Daughters Brewing on near 3rd Avenue on 22nd Street. “We've been here for eight years and at the time we moved in, we were really the only business that that was active here in this corridor.”
Google maps show the area as far back as 2007 when Harting’s brewery was once the Banks Supply Company, previously Banks Metal And Auto Parts in the 1920s.
“A lot of these smaller cities have industrial areas that are no longer being used for industrial purposes,” Harting said.
His brewery passes zoning because they brew and distribute beer, but Miami-based developer Joe Furst with Place Projects has a bigger vision.
“We're on a vacant parcel of land between the Morean Center for Clay and 3 Daughters,” Furst explained while walking the property. “This piece of land also has direct connectivity to the Pinellas Trail. So our hope would be to build a mixed-use environment here that'd be a mix of housing, commercial space, and really create a great public benefit to connect to the Pinellas Trail.”
Place Projects is part of the “makerhood” movement — finding a dormant property to give new life.
“The plan basically tries to recalibrate the planning and zoning framework to allow for their housing or commercial uses. And most importantly, we're all within a quarter-mile of mass transit here with the BRT line. So we want to have a place that's vibrant that meets the ridership along the BRT line, and obviously employment opportunities,” Furst explained.
The BRT is Tampa Bay’s first bus rapid transit called the Sunrunner. It’s still under construction but is expected to open in 2022.
Furst’s ideas come straight from the surrounding main street corridor districts on 22nd Street — the Warehouse Arts and Deuces Live.
“The Deuces Live is certified main street. Main streets are a project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Their goal is to revitalize historic commercial corridors,” explained Veatrice Farrell, Executive Director of The Deuces Live.
When Interstate 375 was built to downtown in 1977, it displaced dozens of families and businesses in the historic African American community near 9th and 22nd.
The Deuces Live and Warehouse Arts District recently created an action plan and asked the community what they wanted in future growth.
Their plan includes walkability, livability, and parks.
“Joe used the same consultants to come and say, ‘Hey, if I if I put something between 3rd and 5th, what should it look like based upon what the community already wants?’ And so he came up with what he calls 22 I-MIX,” Farrell said.
I-MIX stands for industrial mixed-use which Furst is hoping St Pete city council will approve as new zoning for his project between 1st and 5th Avenue.
Harting said it could ultimately be part of something much bigger for St Pete.
“I think that if the Rays site develops into something different, this can become a part of that… as it grows west and that idea of mixed-use having retail here and possibly some residential as well, I think that's what this should grow into,“ he said.
The city planning department is looking at the rezoning as part of their 2050 plan.
“City staff is researching and evaluating options for land use and zoning updates to provide for more flexibility in uses related to the PSTA BRT station areas, along commercial corridors including 22nd Street south, along the Pinellas Trail, and within the industrial land use and zoning categories," The St. Petersburg Director of Planning & Development Services Elizabeth Abernethy said in an email.
The city council will have to approve the rezoning. ABC Action News reached out to District 7 Council Member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, but did not hear back by the time of this publication.
There is no timeline on the rezoning decision as of right now.
To read more about the project, click here.
To read more about St. Petersburg's history, click here.