As more entrepreneurs visit the city and are faced with limited options of where to stay, San Eng has created a destination in downtown St. Petersburg where these digital nomads can reside and connect while working in an environment created to suit their needs.
Eng, a managing partner of the real estate investment firm Skytian Capital, is spearheading the project of flipping two downtown properties – 425 2nd St. N., formerly the Park Plaza Apartments, and the apartment building at 424 2nd St. N. – into what he calls Satoshi Hideout.
Eng, an expert in Web3, said the complex is named after Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of Bitcoin. The complex, which is open and nearly complete, will encourage the use of digital money by accepting crypto payments from tenants.
The leasing is also flexible and affordable compared to other downtown hotels, Eng said, noting how there’s currently a user who booked a room for 50 days while the minimum stay is three days.
The residential community has meeting spaces, including a courtyard, fast Wi-Fi and it will have a display of the latest NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Eng said he envisions tech leaders hosting events in the courtyard of Satoshi Hideout.
Eng and his contracting team have completely renovated the units in both buildings, adding new paint, flooring, wall art with references to Bitcoin, touchless lights, charging areas and digital door locks.
However, it’s the mural on the side of the former Park Plaza Apartments has been drawing attention from passers-by.
The mural pays homage to the renaissance crypto has created in disrupting the traditional financial establishment, as referenced in the painting of a woman confronting a bull, similar to the iconic Charging Bull sculpture on Wall Street.
“I love the revolutionary aspect of it, it ties in with a lot of the art I do,” said the local artist who goes by gatsbynotart. He became familiar with the blockchain and Satoshi while working on the mural for over two weeks.
“The one thing that is driving me crazy is we don’t know who Satoshi is, there are many theories out there, and every time Satoshi is mentioned, it’s a ‘him.’ How do we know it’s not a woman?” he said.
Around the anime-like female character, unwoven red silks drape over her, signifying how she’s broken free from the bondage of the establishment. A hidden dragon can be found in the mural too, representing prosperity.
Above the two dueling characters is a sun that “illuminates” the genesis block, also known as block 0, the first block in a blockchain.
At the end of the mural, the wall features a poem by Eng as well as birds representing an ikigai, a Japanese concept about one’s purpose for living.
The other side of the building features portraits of random people to show that the enigmatic Satoshi could be anyone.
Eng said QR codes will be on each wall for people to scan and learn about the story behind the murals.
Meanwhile, directly across the street at 424 2nd St. N., the black-and-white structure is geared toward guests who need shared spaces.
“If you are a nurse, or other traveling professional and you need affordable space, you can share rooms. The building has a communal bathroom and we will be building a communal kitchen,” Eng said, explaining there are multiple pricing packages a visitor can select from.
Eng worked with St. Petersburg-based advertising firm Clear ph on the design elements and branding.
The entire complex is roughly 90% complete as it will be outfitted with modern doors and signage. The two buildings may also have solar panels.
Eng is also planning to create an electric vehicle charging station for at least three Tesla vehicles that customers can rent.
Eng said the team has spent roughly $1 million to renovate the units and buildings since purchasing the properties six months ago.
He has been approached about licensing the concept, which he said he may entertain in the near future.