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Local investor buys Goodyear Rubber’s HQ

Veronica Brezina



The Goodyear Rubber Products' former property on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. GoogleMaps.

As local real estate investor Rossi Bonugli stepped inside the 40-year-old warehouse building at 1900 Central Ave. that Goodyear Rubber Products recently vacated, Bonugli knew he had to scoop it up. 

“The development and retail activity within a five-block radius from the property is crazy,” Bonugli said. “When I looked at it, I thought it would be a good property to own and either redevelop or sit on it.”  

Through the Properties by BLR entity, Bonugli purchased the building in a $2.39 million deal from the Jacobs family, which has operated the Goodyear Rubber Products corporate headquarters in St. Petersburg for 74 years, distributing industrial rubber products.

The company listed the building with Barkett Realty, as it was relocating its headquarters to Clearwater. The Central Avenue operations permanently closed in late February. Multiple real estate sources said the Tricera Real Estate group was previously under contract to buy Goodyear Rubber’s buildings on Central Avenue. 

According to Barkett Realty, Goodyear Rubber’s remaining properties at 1957 1st Ave. S., 1912 and 1916 Central Ave. will be sold by the end of this month to an investment group, which plans to lease the space to local businesses.

The purchased two-story concrete building, located at the bookend of the block, is completely cleared out and boasts 8,000 square feet.

The property is currently zoned as Corridor Commercial Traditional-2 (CCT-2), which allows for retail and/or restaurant uses, Bonugli said, explaining multiple tenants or a single user such as a gym operator could lease the building. 

Bonugli owns other properties as well, including the building at 534 28th St. South, home to the Art for Art gallery. He is also in the midst of redeveloping several properties. 

“I’ve been here for the past 15 years, and I started buying properties in 2009 during the market turndown. The prices at the time were unbelievable and now, today, it’s becoming very expensive for businesses to buy real estate and for businesses to operate,” he said regarding the current market conditions and desire for more inventory. 

Bonugli is currently constructing a 4,800-square-foot retail building at 502 28th St. that will be completed in October. The building will either be leased by a sole occupant, or it will be divided into four separate units. 

Additionally, Bonugli is in the design process of redeveloping the 2730 and 2733 Central Ave. office space properties, which will feature retail on the ground floor and apartments on the second level. 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    David Johnson

    March 22, 2023at3:15 pm

    I’m interested in learning what kind of retail will be going in 28th st south location.

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