St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District will soon be home to an outdoor performing arts venue. The City of St. Petersburg’s Development Review Commission officially rubber-stamped the project July 10.
The project, in the works since 2017, has been the undertaking of property owners Robert and Cherie Beaman. The couple’s son, Nick Beaman, a glass artist, convinced the couple to purchase the land located 415 20th Street S. along the Pinellas Trail in 2016 and turn it into a hot shop and performing arts venue, complete with a large stage and an area for food trucks to gather.
Until earlier this year, such a project would have been prohibited in the Warehouse Arts District. However, the Beamans sought changes to the Industrial General zoning category to allow a performing arts venue under special exception use. The use was granted by City Council in February. The July 10 Development Review Commission meeting was the project’s final hurdle for approval.
The outdoor performance space is projected to hold 60+ national events in its first year, drawing between 5,000 and 7,000 attendees each. The venue will also host 20-25 non-national events of a few thousand attendees each.
The venue’s location in an industrial area would avoid a number of problems faced by other outdoor performing arts venues like Vinoy Park or Al Lang Stadium.
At the center of the Dome Industrial Park, it would be three full blocks from the nearest residentially-zoned property, reducing residential noise concerns. The property owners have also committed to abiding by the revised noise ordinance, and have established an extensive noise mitigation plan. The property will utilize dense landscaping, including bamboo, and mass loading vinyl drapes on the perimeter of the stage and fence to shield neighboring properties from excessive sound and light.
The property owners have also addressed parking concerns, working alongside the St. Petersburg Police Department. They proactively negotiated a parking agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays to lease the organization’s parking lots at Tropicana Field during events. The applicants had also secured a ridership agreement with Nickel Ride before the company announced its closure earlier this month.
Still, the project has not been without controversy. Representatives of Cycle Brewery and the Morean Arts Center spoke against the project, which led to special conditions of approval. The applicants are required through the special condition to work with City Staff and the adjacent property owner (the Morean Arts Center) to explore further noise mitigation plans on the northwest property line, the line between the site and the Morean Arts Center.