The city may tap two different consultant groups to study the future of the 110-acre Albert Whitted Airport site, both with and without aviation uses.
The city’s evaluation committee voted on Wednesday to continue to engage with Kimley-Horn on its proposal to study the existing economic impact of the airport and the future economic impact based on aviation uses.
Kimley-Horn submitted its proposal after the city received two proposals to study the economic impact and potential future uses of the site – one from Alpha Sol LLC and another from New York-based HR&A Advisors.
Following the committee’s vote, there will be a follow-up meeting with Kimley-Horn to discuss the scope of work for the impact study. While Kimley-Horn proposes to study the future aviation uses at the site, the committee will also discuss the other proposals on Aug. 12, which specifically entail studying future non-aviation uses of the airport site.
The plan to evaluate both scenarios with separate consultants comes after St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch said he instructed city staff to further study the economic and community impacts of the city-owned airfield.
Today, the airport doesn’t house commercial airlines; however, it has operated for 100 years and serves numerous aviation businesses ranging from charter flight operators to companies providing flight training.
Opponents against the potential redevelopment of the site have made numerous comments on how the airport is a vital economic engine in St. Petersburg, supporting many jobs and operators. They’ve also reminded the city that it cannot pursue redeveloping the site as there are federal dollars attached to the airport’s projects that have not expired.
Meanwhile, those favoring the study and potential reuse of the site, have voiced that they believe the prime waterfront site is underutilized and can yield a greater use if redeveloped.