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First look: UPC Insurance unveils renderings for new headquarters

Margie Manning

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St. Petersburg City Council members and others are getting a look at the first new office building planned for downtown St. Petersburg in more than a decade.

United Insurance Holdings Corp. has released the first renderings of its planned new headquarters as well as a hotel and parking garage. (See a gallery of renderings from Alfonso Architects below.)

The city council agreed in May to sell a vacant 4.6 acre city-owned parcel at 800 1st Ave. S. for $5 million to United Insurance (Nasdaq: UIHC), which does business as UPC Insurance. It’s across the street from UPC’s existing headquarters site, which the company said it has outgrown.

Next week, the city council – meeting as the Community Redevelopment Agency – will consider the project planned for the site. It includes a four-story, 150,000-square-foot corporate office building, a 17-story, 180-room hotel and a three-story parking garage. The project’s construction cost is valued at $91.5 million, a filing with the city said.

UPC declined to a request from the St. Pete Catalyst to comment on the project.

Here are some details from the filing.

• The corporate headquarters will be north and northwest of the existing three-story triangle-shaped office building (the former office of AAA Auto South) that UPC currently occupies. The portion of 2nd Avenue South that is between the existing and the new buildings will be closed to traffic, and open space, including a meditation garden, will occupy some of that space.

• The hotel will be on the northeast corner of the property.

• The parking garage will be west of the hotel, with access from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street South.

• The office, hotel and parking structures will have a modern architectural style. The office building and hotel will be glass and metal. The floor plates of the upper floors of the office building will expand over the first floor, creating large covered plazas that connect to the public right-of-way.

• Building orientation and materials will reduce sun exposure and heat gain and incorporate large open spaces to provide wind flow and localized cooling within the site.

• The public sidewalk will be widened to 10 feet, and streetscape improvements such as trees, landscaping and street lighting will be installed.

The city’s development staff is recommending the city council approve the plan at its Sept. 19 meeting.

UPC Insurance project

Picture 1 of 5

South streetview

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