St. Pete historic preservation being supported

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jun 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-17 18:50:26-04
"Mixed use kind’ve stuff is really what downtown really needs right now,” said Wade Anderson.
Downtown St. Pete is changing rapidly.
"I think it'd be really nice to have a green area there-- a green area as opposed to, because they're building so many condos,” said Ryan Burke.
Folks like Ryan Burke who work downtown say even so, the change isn’t unfolding fast enough.
He's worked on North Central Avenue eight years and still takes his breaks inside his office.
"I'm going to go back to my building and eat lunch,” said Burke.
A new commercial real estate deal in the 400 block of North Central Avenue is welcome news to him.
The building locals call the "cheese grater” is coming down. 
Despite being an historic structure underneath, The Pheil Hotel in its 1920's heyday looked a bit like a sister structure across the street.
The building has been vacant since 2006.
"It's difficult to lose such a great building as this one,” said Cesar Morales, St. Pete Historic Preservation Board Member.
But Cesar Morales says a deal with the commercial developer will preserve other parts of historic St. Pete.
First States Investors Group is giving $100,000 to St. Pete Preservation so the developer can tear down and build new here.
"We'll now have the opportunity to purchase buildings in danger and renovate them and sell them with historic protections,” said Morales.
Plans aren't final but could include retail, parking, a hotel, office or residential space which would be a big change for this "super block" in the heart of downtown St. Pete.
"We hope that whatever comes up here is something that represents the diversity, the dynamics and the character of our city,” said Morales.