Midtown Development, which is vying to become the master developer for the Trop site redevelopment, wants to partially demolish and rebuild part of Interstate 175 as part of its plans.
Miami-based Midtown Development has formed a Highway Task Force with a $500,000 commitment to kick-start the concept of connecting the 86-acre Tropicana site to South St. Pete by rebuilding part of the interstate.
The goal is to create a gateway connecting into Midtown’s proposed Creekside neighborhood.
“We have heard from the community that one of the most pressing matters is the connectivity to South St. Pete, which is why Midtown will be funding the task force regarding the future of I-175, and we have committed $500,000 towards this initiative,” Midtown Development Principal Alex Vadia said. “It is not Midtown’s goal or intention to control this process; rather, we see ourselves as facilitators, and we are here to move the process forward.”
Midtown has engaged Tallahassee-based Clary Consulting, which has done extensive work with the Florida Department of Transportation, to create a task force of city staffers, the chamber of commerce, economic development corporation groups, leaders in business, the community, hospitals, FDOT District 7 and Forward Pinellas, according to Midtown’s release.
Clary Consulting President Lowell Clary and his team will help the task force engage the greater community toward making decisions considerate of all voices.
Midtown’s $2 billion-plus Creekside neighborhood would have new office space, a mix of tiered affordable housing options, a hotel, retail development and – notably – an expanded Booker Creek.
“We want to have a neighborhood where you don’t know where it begins and where it ends,” Vadia told the Catalyst regarding how he doesn’t want segregated neighborhoods within the development.
The group simultaneously announced that it is going to incorporate a $10 million fund to jump-start the buildout of local retail stores within the property.
“St. Petersburg’s vibrant and eclectic, locally-owned businesses form the fabric of the community,” said Vadia. “We have listened to the needs, wants, and desires of the members of the community through the public outreach efforts organized by the city of St. Petersburg and our Creekside team, and a result of these discussions is our creation of a $10 million program for the creation and growth of local business.”
“The funds in the Retail Storefront Program would be used for retail and storefront buildout, making spaces ready for independent local businesses to move in. In addition to the storefront buildouts, eligible businesses can apply for grant funding for a variety of uses and incentives. Program participation requirements would mirror St. Petersburg’s existing Storefront Conservation Corridor Plan, with adjustments for the Creekside neighborhood, targeting new and existing local businesses,” according to the release.
Other program additions Midtown announced include an additional $12.5 commitment for indoor and outdoor office space, which was a result of the pandemic, and $1 million for its Community Benefits Foundation program.
Midtown’s initial financial commitment to the city of St. Petersburg was $190 million, but that amount has increased to $238 million.
Midtown is one of two prospects St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman favored to move forward with.
The other group vying for the redevelopment opportunity is Sugar Hill.