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Alligator farm owner selling land, redevelopment vision

Veronica Brezina

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The proposed Aquatica redevelopment. All renderings: WC Equity Group/Loopnet.

The structure that once served as the entrance into the old St. Petersburg Alligator Farm, the city’s first tourist attraction, has been demolished as the owner plans to sell the site and his new vision. 

A tarp fence now surrounds the 0.58-acre site at 3601 6th St. S. between Lake Maggiore and the Big Bayou. The property, riddled with weeds and a few solitary oak trees on the back half of the land, formerly housed the alligators and animal pens. 

The site of the old St. Petersburg Alligator Farm at 3601 6th St. S. File photo. 

Owner WC Equity Group, which has an office in Tampa, recently listed the site with an asking price of just under $3 million, and coupled with a redevelopment plan. 

The WC firm is a full-service real estate services firm specializing in multifamily investment and property management. The company’s portfolio includes the Azure St. Pete apartment complex, the multifamily Santorini Square space in Tarpon Springs, the boutique Westshore Gardens apartment complex in Tampa, and the NOHO Gardens multi-unit residential property in Tampa’s Hyde Park. 

According to a Loopnet listing, the property is advertised as a “ready to build” site for a proposed redevelopment project dubbed Aquatica, a 12-unit apartment complex. 

A rendering of Aquatica.

The listing reads it is “available as entitled land sale as adjusted price or turnkey apartment completion.” 

Renderings show a modern three-story building with top-floor units featuring water views. 

The 10,000-square-foot project breaks down to a $247,885 cost to build each unit. 

St. Petersburg development staff confirmed the construction plans for the site work have been submitted and are currently in review; however, WC Equity Group’s website states the project will be completed in 2024. 

Kurt Westfield, managing director at WC Equity Group, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

RELATED READING: Vintage St. Pete: The alligator farm

Following the death of alligator farm founder Andrew Hardee Baker in 1940, his wife, Anna, sold every animal inhabitant of the St. Petersburg Alligator Farm, including the 15-foot “Old Mose” gator, to Tom Thomson of the Florida Wild Animal Ranch, a tourist spot on 4th Street North, which was itself demolished in 1959. 

Anna Baker died in 1943.

 

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