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How Covid-19 has thrown projects like the redevelopment of the former St. Pete police station into flux

Megan Holmes

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The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce presents: Coronavirus Impact Insights. Click the play arrow above to watch the full video.

On this episode, Jay Miller of J2 Developers joins Chris Steinocher, CEO of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Joe Hamilton, publisher of the St. Pete Catalyst.

He shares updates on his upcoming major project: the redevelopment of the former St. Petersburg Police Station in the EDGE District.

But first, Steinocher takes listeners through the Florida Chamber Scorecard for Pinellas County. While the percent of positive tests continues to decrease, the 14-day average of positive cases is increasing, which Steinocher says is a caution sign to the business community.

Miller shares the silver lining of Covid-19: having his two adult daughters at home.

As for the police station redevelopment project, Miller explains the concern surrounding the timing of the project. While the EDGE District location is certain, Miller wonders what the long term implications of Covid-19 could be, and how it could effect development and use of office and retail space.

The original components of the police station redevelopment were: a new public parking garage with 600 spaces, 400 for the public. Two residential components: 30 workforce rental apartments and 56 condominiums; and two commercial components: 100,00 square feet of new office space, 22,000 square feet of retail. All of this would surround a public square.

As Covid-19 throws the necessity of office space into uncertainty, the development is under new scrutiny to understand what the demands of the post-Covid world could look like.

“We don’t know enough yet,” Miller says. “I’ve heard all sorts of different reactions on behalf of businesses as to how they’re thinking about their future office space.”

Some businesses have noticed increased productivity from their staff while they work from home, and have decided to explore continuing that. Others are extending the amount of office space they need to spread out their workers further as staffs return to offices.

Miller posits that St. Petersburg may have an advantage compared to some more densely populated cities. He says there is no shortage of demand for workforce housing, but explains that J2 Developers will continue to look at data to decide how to move forward.

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