Downtown St. Petersburg sees development boom

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 20:01:49-05
Downtown St. Petersburg is in the middle of a major boom when it comes to residential and business development. 
Developers are working on a number of projects that are expected to bring in big bucks to the area.
On nearly every corner here in downtown St. Petersburg you'll notice construction. City leaders say it's a sign of growth. It's having a huge impact on local businesses and the local job market.
"We came down here on a vacation in St. Pete Beach and we actually fell in love with it," said local business owner Stacie Shapiro.
It was on that vacation from New York that Shapiro decided downtown St. Petersburg had a lot of promise.
"This place was calling my name," Shapiro told ABC Action News.
Seven months ago she open Stacie's Cottage Cafe. She hasn't looked back since.
"Business has definitely increased since I've been here," Shapiro said.
Shapiro's cafe is a part of a recent wave of development in Downtown St. Petersburg.
"We've heard from a number of companies who are in the final stages of considering this area that are in diverse fields. Everything from technology and software development to the insurance fields," said Sean Kennedy, economic development manager with the St. Petersburg Chamber.
Kennedy said it all started with the rise in residential properties. More than a thousand new units are in the works. About 15 developments are either under construction or in the planning stages. That has brought in the new businesses, along with an increase in new jobs.
"We see so many, so many shop owners that feel comfortable enough to take the risk and get a bigger space or expand their line of products, or hire a new person and bring them on because they're seeing so much traffic," Kennedy told ABC Action News.
"There's a lot of businesses that are still building that are advertising ‘help wanted’ all over the place," Shapiro said.
Shapiro told ABC Action News that opening shop in St. Petersburg was the best move she could have made. She's looking forward to what the future holds.
"Things are going well, thank God," Shapiro said.