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Developers secure ‘world-renowned’ muralist for Mirror Lake tower

Mark Parker

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A rendering of the Reflection condominium tower shows an expansive tile mosaic. Its developers have instead selected a prominent artist to create a four-story mural. Image: HP Capital.

The local developers behind an 18-story luxury condominium tower plan to elevate St. Petersburg’s reputation as a city that proudly promotes the arts.

Construction is nearly complete on Reflection, which, at 200 feet, is now the Mirror Lake neighborhood’s tallest building. HP Capital’s renderings highlighted an expansive tile mosaic perched above street-level retail space at 300 8th St. N.

However, the 88-unit development will showcase a 3,200-square-foot mural spanning four stories. Nick Hansen, a founding partner at HP Capital, shared some new details Tuesday afternoon with the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.

“We’re going to bring in a world-renowned muralist – which we haven’t announced yet, so I’m not going to tell you – but it’s going to be really cool,” Hansen said. “It’s booked into the budget of the HOA (homeowner’s association), so it will always be updated as the years go forward.

“And maybe, seven years from now or 10 years from now, they will bring in a different muralist.”

Hansen told attendees at the Partnership’s monthly Developer’s Council meeting that he would see a design concept in about a week. While he would not disclose the “closely guarded” muralist’s name, he did describe their background and the selection process.

Hansen stressed that the artist has a worldwide following and is not from “this side of the globe.” He said their portfolio includes projects with a similar size and scope to Reflection’s four-story mural.

Hansen added that the local art community would immediately recognize the muralist’s name. “And when you see the way they do their work, it’s going to make sense for the name of the building,” he teased.

The 88-unit tower (center background) rises above Mirror Lake. Photo by Mark Parker.

Hansen said that aspect made the muralist HP Capital’s top choice from a list of 10 people. However, availability and affordability were a concern.

“He was like, ‘I would love to do this. It works for my schedule,’” Hansen said. “Every step of the way has been wonderful, although we haven’t put any actual paint onto the canvas, so to speak.”

Hansen, a third-generation St. Petersburg native, has a background in performance art. His sister previously chaired the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s board of directors.

In addition, the city offers developers density bonuses if they incorporate art into projects. However, HP Capital soon realized its mural would not qualify.

“I could put a three-foot statue outside and have it touch my building, and that would count,” Hansen explained. “But a 3,200-square-foot, four-story-tall mural does not.”

He said the SHINE Mural Festival’s leadership approached the developers with an opportunity. The annual event is celebrating its 10th anniversary in October, and HP Capital will serve as the title sponsor for the second consecutive year.

Hansen credited community relationships for leading to a “perfect marriage.” He said Jenee Priebe, director of SHINE, helped “procure the muralist at a rate that fit within our budget.”

Reflection will welcome its first residents in July, and Hansen noted that they would watch the artist bring the mural to life. “We have had residents come and purchase units in our building as a result of our relationship with the SHINE Festival,” he said.

“So, it (the sponsorship) has already met its criteria in terms of bottom line. Now it’s elevating … how we are received in the community.”

The meeting’s overarching theme was that art attracts new residents and stimulates the economy. Jason Mathis, CEO of the Partnership, noted that officials often dedicate 1% of an art-focused city’s budget to related initiatives.

He said that equates to roughly $7 million in St. Petersburg, and city officials allocate about $750,000 annually to public art. “So, we really have some work to do,” Mathis added.

Hansen suggested enhancing density bonuses and loosening restrictions for developers incorporating art into projects. He said city officials did not consider Reflection’s massive mural publicly accessible as it was above street level.

Hansen said increasing flexibility would promote creativity amongst the development community, as it does for artists. He also believes Reflection’s residents will keep the mural indefinitely.

“We assume – since it’s so big and it’s going to be beautiful – they’re always going to want to pick something that goes with that.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Danny White

    April 29, 2024at1:00 pm

    HP Capital has sponsored the annual SHINE event that is specifically about the work of muralists. Yet HP Capital appears to have gone across the pond so to speak to contract with a muralist to create the massive design which understandably may feel like a slap in the face to the local arts community. I get it if the idea is a marketing strategy to sell out the units, that’s just business. Still, all artists who eventually become internationally recognized had their start somewhere, so why not give a local muralist first dibs at creating the project instead of ‘possibly’ giving them a chance 10+ years down the road as indicated in the article? I am not sure any private developer should merit financial breaks for incorporating ‘art’ into their building whether the ‘art’ is visible or visible to the general public at street level or not. One example among a few is the Wayland apartments on Dr. MLK St S that has an impressive, colorful abstract mural not at street level yet is visible for quite a distance, so did they get a break for installing it? Did a local muralist create it?

  2. Avatar

    Pete Maresco

    April 28, 2024at6:53 pm

    “Supporting the arts” while simultaneously shitting all over the local art community by hiring someone from the other side of the planet and paying what’s probably an absurd amount of money, instead of one of the many incredible muralists from St Pete. What a damn joke.

  3. Avatar

    Dawn Bednar

    April 27, 2024at12:35 pm

    We have such phenomenal local mural artists. I’d like this idea more if one of their careers were being supported.

  4. Avatar

    Devin G.

    April 26, 2024at10:26 am

    Hansen proposed boosting density bonuses and easing regulations for developers who integrate art into their projects. He pointed out that city officials overlooked the accessibility of Reflection’s expansive mural, situated above street level. It’s quite intriguing how these “city officials” often promote St. Pete as a hub of arts and culture, yet fail to adequately support it or streamline the process for artists and developers. One might wonder, which city official could argue that this art isn’t accessible? And if accessibility or interaction with art is limited to street view art, then this needs to change.

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