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Former Times property could become warehouse development

Mark Parker

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A Connecticut-based company has submitted plans to build two new warehouses as part of an industrial center at 3200 17th Ave. N. in St. Petersburg. Screengrab, Google.

To some residents’ dismay, a Connecticut-based company plans to transform a former Tampa Bay Times distribution campus in St. Petersburg into a multitenant industrial park with 36 bays.

Twenty Lake Holdings (TLH) refers to the project as the “St. Petersburg Small Bay Warehouse Development” in public documents obtained by the Catalyst. The 6.6-acre property at 3200 17th Ave. N. sits along the 34th Street business corridor and is separated from the North Kenwood neighborhood by a large retention pond.

Site plans call for two new pre-engineered metal buildings encompassing 9,883 square feet and 11,450 square feet, respectively. Documents show the existing 17,534-square-foot Times facility remaining and the project’s structures totaling 38,867 square feet.

“The development is designed to cater to the growing demand for flexible workspace in the vibrant St. Petersburg Area … while contributing to economic growth and business development in the area,” wrote Erik J. Kasuba, director of architecture for TLH, in a cover letter.

The two proposed new steel buildings will feature a total of 36 bays. Screengrab, city documents.

Stamford, Connecticut-based TLH owns the property and serves as the project architect. According to its website, TLH is a national real estate investment and management company. The only additional information it provides is an address and phone number.

Kasuba, TLH and Colorado-based Cage Civil Engineering could not be reached for comment.

According to Pinellas County property records, the Times Publishing Company sold the existing building and surrounding property to TLH Tampa Bay, LLC in August 2021 for $1.16 million. City documents list Oak Brook, Illinois-based Quest Design Group as the project’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer and Indian Harbor Beach, Florida-based Adams Engineering as its structural engineer.

However, in December, the North Kenwood Neighborhood Association began receiving emails from Cage Civil describing plans to transform the property into the “Thirteenth Avenue Industrial Center.” Those documents include plans to replat several lots and project sketches mirroring what TLH submitted to the city.

The association’s website now features a survey asking residents for their thoughts on the proposal including a self-storage facility. Steven Herzfeld, the neighborhood’s outgoing president, was the first to receive the emails.

As a commercial realtor with an architectural background, Herzfeld said the “drawings indicate” self-storage or “car condominiums.”

“I know what I’m looking at; I just haven’t heard anything specific from them,” Herzfeld added. “It could be small workshops, but I just don’t know since there’s not bathrooms for each unit, and it’s all roll-up doors, it looks like. It doesn’t make me think it’s anything like flex space or workshops.”

Floor plans submitted to the city confirm that the new buildings – one with 25 bays and another with 11 – will feature roll-up doors. Each structure will contain one restroom.

“This project will offer small businesses and entrepreneurs a versatile and well-located space to thrive and succeed in the dynamic St. Petersburg market,” states the cover letter.

Herzfeld said the neighborhood has consistently opposed additional self-storage buildings in the area. He believes those facilities provide minimal public benefits, whether through job creation, tax revenue or local business opportunities.

“A better investment in this area would go a long way in improving the quality of businesses along the 34th Street corridor,” Herzfeld said. “We’ve also been encouraging the city to explore opportunities to add a trail around Emerald Lake – the large retention pond on the adjoining parcel.”

An overhead map of the area, with 34th Street North to the west and North Kenwood to the east. Screengrab, Pinellas County documents.

He explained that the 2019 Union Central District Plan, which encompasses the area, proposed a trail along the adjacent CSX railroad corridor that could connect to the Pinellas Trail network. While Herzfeld stressed that he cannot speak for the entire neighborhood, he said residents generally want to see a small mixed-use district at the site that would complement existing commercial properties on 34th and 28th Streets.

“Basically, a small, almost lifestyle center,” Herzfeld added. “A neighborhood with some restaurants and … sort of a small Main Street there would be really cute. It would be a nice amenity to the current residents.”

The city clerk noted that both site plans are under review and await official approval. A neighborhood association web page urges residents to read the site plans and offer input.

The website states, “It’s up to our neighborhood and its residents to speak out!” The association also provides the Union Central District Plan “in contrast.”

Shaquille Lashley contributed to this article.

 

 

 

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Kyle

    January 26, 2024at8:37 am

    The picture is deceiving highlighting the current Sam’s club which has nothing to do with the article

  2. Avatar

    Rob

    January 24, 2024at1:17 pm

    Please don’t put more industrial garbage here. This is a great opportunity to do something interesting in this area. There are two self storage buildings right down the road that already deactivate the creative use of commercial space in this corridor.

  3. Avatar

    KK

    January 23, 2024at8:34 pm

    The red outline area is Sams Club. The article refers to the area at the bottom of the frame, south of 17th Ave.

  4. Avatar

    OriginalJud

    January 23, 2024at8:26 pm

    Very disappointing, so close to such a vibrant corridor, and The chance to really improve the transition into that neighborhood. often look out on that lake thinking it would make a good nature trail around it come on.

  5. Avatar

    John

    January 23, 2024at7:31 pm

    Sounds like job creation. Great for the economy. We have enough bars and dilapidated shacks. The business of America is business… Dept. of Commerce, Washington DC

  6. Avatar

    Janan

    January 23, 2024at4:08 pm

    How disappointing. Where is the long-term commitment to keeping St. Petersburg special.

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