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Kenwood, Starbucks, downtown affordable housing draw City Council action

Margie Manning

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Historic Kenwood sign

The St. Petersburg City Council has approved an ordinance designating Southwest Central Kenwood as a local historic district.

The unanimous approval was one of several real estate-related actions at Thursday’s City Council meeting. Council members also approved a measure that could pave the way for another Starbucks on 4th Street North and agreed to allow Mayor Rick Kriseman to make a low-interest loan to the developer of an affordable housing project.

Kenwood, a residential area encompassing about 375 acres and more than 2,000 buildings, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 2003. Southwest Central Kenwood, with about 150 parcels of land, is an area bound by 26th and 28th Streets and between 1st Avenue and 5th Avenue North. It is the fourth district within Kenwood to be added to the St. Petersburg Register of Historic Place. 

Kenwood “was the first year-round housing for the city of St. Pete. They weren’t the snowbirds living in the community. So you see what is modest in scale for the architecture of the homes was planned with charm and cohesiveness and matched the history of the community,” Alexander Smith, a resident of Southwest Central Kenwood, told the City Council. “We look at local historic designation as a way to keep that neighborhood character.”

No one spoke against the ordinance during Thursday’s public hearing. The St. Petersburg Community Planning and Preservation Commission recommended the measure for approval last month.


Related: Cade Allen home poised for addition to local historic register


City Council members also agreed to vacate — or give up the city’s interest in — part of an alley at 3939 4th St. N., at the request of a company that wants to consolidate the property, redevelop it and construct a new restaurant with a drive-thru window.

The restaurant was not identified by name, but a site plan that accompanied the request showed a Starbucks logo at the location of what is currently the Southern Telephone Systems building.

The city’s Development Review Commission recommended approval of the alley vacation in March.

The property owners are Zipzea Holdings and Beach to Bay Inc. Zipzea is controlled by Abraham Reichbach. Reichbach also is listed in state records as the manager of Sunrise Plaza Holdings and Zag Enterprise Holdings. Those two companies own a shopping center on the north side of 39th Avenue North between 3rd Street North and 38th Avenue North, and they plan to redevelop the shopping center to include an organic grocery store, widely expected to be Whole Foods Market.

It’s unclear if there is a connection between the two projects. A representative declined to comment at this time.

Separately, the council agreed to allow the mayor to provide a zero-interest loan for $334,000 to Delmar Terrace South LLC, a company controlled by a St. Louis-based real estate developer, McCormick Baron Salazar.  The company is developing 65 rental units designed for households at or below 60 percent of the area median income.The project, at 745 Delmar Terrace South, is on the edge of downtown St. Petersburg.

 

It was supposed to open in June 2020. But the developer ran into challenges, including poor performance by the original general contractor and the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a letter from the company to the Florida Housing Finance Corp.

A new general contractor is in place and the project is on track to be complete by the end of 2021. But the company asked for financial help with cost over-runs, due to construction loan interest, insurance, engineering and professional fees resulting from the delays.

The no-interest loan from the city, which could be forgiven in 30 years, is in addition to a $500,000 loan from Pinellas County.

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