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Glass-floor observation deck planned for St. Pete Beach

Mark Parker



A rendering of a publicly accessible Rooftop View Terrace with a glass-floored balcony. If approved, TradeWinds Island Resort's expansion will also feature a surfing simulator.

New details are emerging on TradeWinds Island Resort’s massive expansion that, if approved, will feature Florida’s first publicly accessible glass-bottomed observation deck.

The 4,800-square-foot Rooftop View Terrace will sit atop a new 12-story hotel. The redevelopment will add 629 hotel rooms, 68,000 square of restaurant and retail space and 2,223 parking spaces to the 25-acre beachfront property at 5500 Gulf Blvd.

Joe Smith, founder and CEO of 1754 Properties, the resort’s parent company, noted that the nation’s largest cities provide “iconic roof decks.” However, the public amenity at TradeWinds will be the first in Tampa Bay.

“This roof deck, for us, is something so unique,” Smith told the Catalyst. “It just doesn’t exist in the State of Florida. So, for us to deliver something world-class that only exists in major gateway cities and deliver that to St. Pete Beach, it’s an honor.”

Public accessibility is a critical aspect of the project. A dedicated elevator will take visitors directly to the observation deck.

Once there, a wraparound terrace buffered by transparent walls will provide vistas of the expansive resort and the Gulf of Mexico. A glass-floored “lookout balcony” designed by Nunzio Marc Desantis Architects will allow visitors to view the beach and pools from a 12-story perch.

The rooftop deck will feature multiple seating options, and there are no purchasing requirements. However, a separate, private section will offer food and beverages.

“Yes, you can have drinks and watch the sunset,” Smith said. “Or you can come up with your own Publix sandwiches or bring a Coke or whatever … there’s no need to buy anything from TradeWinds.”

The expansion will add 629 rooms, 68,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, three swimming pools and myriad amenities.

The St. Pete Beach Planning Board unanimously approved a conditional use permit and development agreement with 1754 Properties in March. Many area stakeholders expressed their support for the expansion.

Once the four-phased, $500 million expansion is complete, TradeWinds will feature 1,596 hotel keys and 170,126 feet of accessory space. Smith also plans to build multiple parking garages, a conference hall, three swimming pools and a children’s center with a bowling alley.

Smith said the observation deck would be landscaped and well-lit, and engineers will ensure the glass walls and balcony are “safe and secure.” He expects to spend “several million dollars” on the public project.

“The city and we were talking about doing things for the public that would be advantageous for them and something that would really preserve and create new views,” Smith added. “I said, ‘As long as we’re going to do it, let’s do it the right way.’ Let’s create a glass bottom balcony where someone can … take selfies or photos with their family, or walk out on it – if they dare.”

The city commission will hear the expansion proposal April 15 at 4 p.m. If approved, Smith plans to complete the hotel tower with the observation deck in five to seven years.

He noted that many local stakeholders already anxiously await the new facility. “We’ll certainly contemplate building it faster,” he said.

A rendering of the expansion’s surfing simulator.

The rooftop terrace is not the only newly announced expansion amenity. The project’s website also highlights a FlowRider surfing simulator.

The innovative equipment produces a stationary, or sheet, wave that allows people to surf continuously. Smith said the FlowRider would abut the notoriously calm Gulf and an expansive beach boardwalk.

“We thought, what can we bring to this community that would truly be a net positive for everyone, that doesn’t exist elsewhere,” Smith explained. “And people could really be proud that it’s in their community.

“The surf-riding machine, as well as the rooftop bar, are things that I can’t point to in Tampa Bay – at a minimum – and say those exist. All these firsts are very exciting for us.”



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  1. Avatar


    April 11, 2024at12:38 pm

    I live very near the Trade winds and just having a convention on the property ties up Gulf Blvd for hours. The water pressure still varies at certain times and the traffic will eventually kill anyone from coming here. If it goes through, my property and plenty of others goes up for sale.

    There will be nothing pleasant if both hotels are allowed to go against what we voted for in density years ago. There is a reason for density on a very narrow plot of sandbar.

  2. Avatar


    April 10, 2024at5:55 pm

    AND! The massive amounts of more sewage and garbage and people!!

  3. Avatar


    April 10, 2024at7:52 am

    St. Pete beach is already over crowded. This project will only worsen the congestion and natural destruction of our beach. Along with overcrowding comes higher crime, higher prices and the loss of peace on our great beach. [content moderated]

  4. Avatar


    April 10, 2024at6:58 am

    Fantasy arrives; no criticism but are there thrill rides and activities of chance around the corner… Is there any peace and beauty to be sought?

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