A crowd cautiously watched the moment a bulldozer dug its claws into the interior of the old St. Petersburg Police department’s headquarters.
As the walls collapsed on the 70-year-old building, and the dust permeated the air, public officials, developers, and attendees were all smiles while some could be heard cheering in the background.
The site will become the home of the new mixed-use development Orange Station at the Edge, which will have workforce units, much-desired Class A office space and more.
“I’d say we’ll miss this building, but I can’t. It’s probably better we say good riddance. It had a great life and it’s time for it to leave,” St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman said, adding how City Hall staff and officials had to temporarily work in the building while the current City Hall was undergoing renovations.
The demolition site is completely fenced in and it’s not expected to disrupt the traffic flow as it will not cause streets to be blocked. Demolition will take several months to complete.
Orange Station will be developed by Edge Central Development Partners, a joint venture group involving St. Petersburg-based J Square, Tampa-based DDA Development and Backstreets Capital.
The development entails creating five buildings that will include a total of 103 residential units, up to 106,000 square feet of office space, 21,400 square feet of commercial space and a 600-space parking garage for public and private use.
The first and tallest building will be a 16-story building on the southwest corner and will include 50,000 square feet of Class A office space and 61 residential units.
The condos, called The Residences at Orange Station, will feature one, two and three-bedroom units.
While the development calls for the 50,000-square-foot office space, the developers do have an adjacent pad of land where additional future office space could be built.
Orange Station will encircle a new public plaza with outdoor cafes, and will be on the SunRunner rapid transit line.
Once the demolition is completed, the groundbreaking for the new build is slated for June 2022. It’s expected to be completed in late 2023.
The project was named Orange Station to give a nod to its history as it once served as the site for the Orange Belt Railway.
The developers allowed the St. Pete Museum of History to salvage key artifacts from the building, which will be displayed at the museum.
The project will also be home to a public art tribute to “The Courageous 12,” the 12 Black St. Petersburg police officers who successfully sued the city in the 1960s to gain the same rights as their white counterparts, according to the developers.
Miller said they will engage with additional artists.
A sales office, led by Smith & Associates, is expected to open by the end of the year with contracts available in early 2022.
Cushman and Wakefield are marketing the office space.