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Kriseman picks EDGE Central to redevelop old St. Pete Police site

Margie Manning

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A conceptual rendering, subject to change, of the EDGE Central project

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen EDGE Central Development Partners to redevelop the old Police Headquarters site.

EDGE Central, led by four veteran real estate entrepreneurs, plans a mixed-use project that will dramatically expand office space and parking in the downtown area, answering two of the biggest challenges the city has faced in attracting and retaining businesses.

The project also will include market-rate and workforce housing, retail and a home for the EDGE District Main Street office.

“We have broken a lot of ground and cut a lot of ribbons in St. Pete lately, but I believe this particular project will prove to be the most exciting and dynamic to date as the mixed-use elements address several of our needs, including workforce housing. The sun is shining bright on St. Pete, the exciting EDGE District, and our many residents and visitors who will benefit from this development,” Kriseman said in a statement.

Old St. Petersburg Police headquarters

EDGE Central was one of seven developers that responded to the city’s request for proposals to buy and redevelop the property at 1300 1st Ave. N.

The original plan submitted by EDGE Central has changed somewhat since the bids became public.

The project now includes:

• 100,000 square feet of Class A office space. Office space has been very tight in the city, with the vacancy rate at 7.1 percent as of the third quarter of 2019. Unlike the planned 150,000-square-foot UPC Insurance headquarters, there’s no specific tenants for the Edge Central projects.

• A 600-space parking garage, with 400 public parking spaces and 200 spaces for office tenants and residents.

• 60 market-rate condominiums.

• 30 workforce rental housing units, aimed at tenants whose income is about 80 percent to 120 percent of the area median income, a group that includes many first responders, police officers and nurses.

• 22,000 square feet of retail space. The retail space will front Central and Baum Avenues with dining options and small retail spaces.

The city already has negotiated a term sheet with the company. It will be presented to  the City Council on Dec. 12, with a final vote expected at a later day.

EDGE Central is led by Bowen Arnold, founder of DDA Development; Jay Miller, president of J Square Developers; William Conroy, a real estate attorney at the Johnson Pope law firm; and Craig Sher, executive chairman of The Sembler Co. Conroy and Sher also are principals of BackStreets Capital LLC. DDA and J Square will share development responsibilities, while BackStreets Capital is an investor partner, according to the original proposal.

Tim Clemmons of St. Petersburg-based Place Architecture is the architect. Wendy Giffin of Cushman & Wakefield will work on office leasing and marketing.

“This project will bring a terrific combination of new Class A office space, retail, housing, and parking to downtown St. Petersburg, and we’re proud to be selected as the development team,” Miller said. “The EDGE District is one of the most exciting neighborhoods in downtown St. Pete right now. Creating a place where people can work, live and shop fits the walkable, independent character of the District.”

This proposal will provide many of the elements the EDGE District had hoped for the site and prioritized in its district master plan, said Barbara Vogelwede, executive director of the EDGE District Business Association.

“Ample office and retail space, workforce housing, condos, our long-awaited district public parking garage, outdoor plaza, and connectivity to our Baum Avenue corridor. We’re very excited to see this proposal move forward and commend Mayor Kriseman and his team for working so thoughtfully with the community to find the right fit,” she said.

The timing on the project is uncertain. It can’t get underway in earnest for a while. St. Petersburg city employees are temporarily using the old police headquarters for their office space, while City Hall undergoes a renovation. A final date for the City Hall work has not been announced.

Still, at least part of the EDGE Central project is expected to be completed before Kriseman, who faces a term limit, leaves office in early 2022.

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