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Residents hold 'Stop the squeeze' rally to protest development in St. Petersburg

Posted: 11:33 AM, Feb 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-06 20:23:14-05
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Residents of downtown St. Pete plan to rally on the steps of city hall Wednesday to send a message to large developers. The residents are upset about projects like the recent Bezu/Blue Lotus condo tower which would “bring a monstrosity of a building to downtown St. Pete.”

At 5:30 PM Wednesday, residents plan to wear red shirts and “stop the squeeze” of large scale development which they say will ruin the historic uniqueness of St. Petersburg.

The latest Bezu/Blue Lotus proposed condo building is tied up in a lawsuit. After not receiving the necessary super-majority vote required to move forward with the project, the developers of the 19-story tower decided to sue the city for development rights.

Developers from The Driven Ziggy group hoped to build the 180-foot tower at the corner of 4th Ave. N. and First St. N. in Downtown St. Petersburg.

Here's a photo of the proposed area for the condo tower:

The developers argue they have made all the necessary changes to make sure the project suits zoning ordinances, including scaling down the project from 288 feet to 180 feet. They argue in the lawsuit that the vote by city leaders was based on public comment from “ill-informed members of the public” rather than the law. They argue that they would suffer “irreparable harm” if the development does not win city approval.

The project was denied by city council three times, despite being recommended by the city’s Development Review Commission.

Residents from the nearby Flori de Leon apartments and Spanish Palms condos showed up in force at city hall to petition against the development.

Residents taking part in the “stop the squeeze” rally Monday say they are fighting for responsible development in St. Pete.