St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch has scrapped Dynasty Financial Partners’ proposal to acquire downtown property, which may now be part of the future redevelopment of the Tropicana Field site.
Dynasty was planning to purchase the city-owned site at 910 2nd Ave. South, which is currently used as parking for the Tampa Bay Rays, to develop workforce housing, an innovation lab and Class A office space, including potentially housing a new HQ for Dynasty and Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest firm.
“Dynasty and its partners were excited to invest in its new building, which would have helped anchor various growing businesses to the community while also providing much-needed new commercial real estate. One of the concerns of economic growth right now for St. Pete is the lack of commercial real estate,” a Dynasty spokesperson shared. “It’s unfortunate that this major project was canceled and now Dynasty, ARK and others will still need to solve their long-term real estate needs.”
The Dynasty proposal was supported by former St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman.
Welch and his administration have not immediately responded to a request for comment regarding the decision to terminate negotiations for the site.
Dynasty and ARK Invest are currently leasing space inside the 200 Central tower. Both firms relocated their headquarters from New York to St. Pete.
Dynasty CEO Shirl Penney said Dynasty was seeking a larger space as it is preparing for more acquisitions and will need a site to consolidate them. He said Wood also needs a larger physical space for ARK Invest. However, a formal agreement with ARK was not established.
During a meeting held earlier this month with contractors interested in the redevelopment of the 86-acre Tropicana Field/Historic Gas Plant District site, a map was presented indicating the property that Dynasty was vying to purchase (Parcel G) can be part of the redevelopment for the overall site.
At the meeting, city officials did not mention the site was being eyed by Dynasty.
Dynasty submitted its proposal last year after Atlas Real Estate Partners made an unsolicited bid to buy the 2-acre site for $5.5 million and build a 10-story development. The unsolicited bid triggered an open process for others to submit proposals.
Dynasty’s proposal states the firm would offer the city $6.25 million to purchase the site.
In the proposal, Dynasty said Third Lake Partners, which owns 200 Central, would be involved in the innovation hub piece of the project. Steve Case, known for co-founding America Online (AOL) and running Revolution, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm that now backs entrepreneurs, would also be a contributor.
The tower would have also included restaurant concepts from Iron Chef and Michelin star holder Marc Forgione of New York,and Chef Michelle Bernstein, a James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef.
The entire grand vision was estimated to cost anywhere from $140 million to $160 million to develop.
The Dynasty proposal is the latest to be slashed. Welch canceled the process for the Moffitt Cancer Center and TPA Group, which was vying to build a cancer center and mixed uses, and he also canceled an agreement with Third Lake Partners to build a new Municipal Services Center.
Multiple anonymous sources have stated they fear the cancelation of multiple potential projects introduced through RFPs could discourage developers to work with the city in private-public partnerships.
The topic also emerged during a Community Benefits Advisory Committee (CBAC) meeting last week, when the members discussed the Moffitt/TPA proposal. City Director of Economic and Workforce Development Brian Caper addressed the issue the city is facing when it receives RFPs that may not align with the city administration’s goals.
“There’s a shift in thinking if we can be clearer upfront in our expectations for the developer, what we are looking for, engaging with the CBAC before issuing the RFP [for projects], saying what’s appropriate and what the expectations are, it takes away a lot of the uncertainty and the challenges we are hearing from the community related to doing private-public partnerships with the city,” Caper said.