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Moffitt, UPC plan to build cancer center and HQ in downtown St. Pete

Veronica Brezina



Moffitt Cancer Center and a master developer are seeking to purchase the entire 800 Block of 2nd Avenue South to create a cancer care facility, a potential future building for UPC and a residential tower. 

The city received the $5 million unsolicited offer several weeks ago from the TPA group, which will serve as the master developer, and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute Inc. 

UPC, known as United Insurance Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: UIHC), previously planned to buy the vacant 4.6-acre, city-owned parcel at 800 1st Ave. S. that’s across from its current HQ as it was outgrowing its space, but backed out of the deal due to the impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

UPC does not currently have any plans for the site and doesn’t anticipate having any associated investment regarding the purchase of the property; however, this allows UPC to be entitled to use the site for future use as it has a lease with the city. 

The breakdown of the entire project: 

  • A 75,000-square-foot, three-story outpatient cancer care medical building
  • A 30-story, 350-unit residential tower which will include a workforce housing component and at least 10% of ground-floor retail 
  • A public-access parking garage with an anticipated minimum of 500 parking spaces
  • A potential 14-story hotel development 

The development group’s site plan. City of St. Pete documents.

A project of this magnitude would rake in millions of investments, create hundreds of jobs and could spark other developments to occur. 

“We always have made it known that our interest in this site goes beyond residential. We see it as the beginning of the Tropicana Field redevelopment area and we wanted a strong, serious employment piece,” St. Petersburg Development Administrator Alan DeLisle told the St. Pete Catalyst. 

“UPC previously said the timing was not right for them [when they initially withdrew plans] but they are a very important company and the city admires what they’ve done. They said this was something to look at again down the road and never completely closed the door on this,” he said. “We are excited about this proposal and the makeup is very intriguing.” 

DeLisle said Atlanta-based developer TPA had conversations with Mayor Rick Kriseman about the site. Kriseman also communicated with Moffitt. The parties were informed to make an offer if they wanted to obtain the site. 


The Moffitt component 

A significant piece of the project will be the presence of Moffitt in downtown St. Pete. 

“Should we be successful, it would bring Moffitt-level cancer care close to home for the residents of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County. We will provide additional updates as this process unfolds and plans are fully developed,” a Moffitt spokeswoman said in a prepared statement. 

Moffitt’s penetration in the downtown St. Pete market would allow St. Pete residents to have a direct connection to Moffitt providers and services – an asset not otherwise available within the city’s current outpatient facilities, according to the offer letter. 

The services at the cancer center would include: 
▪ Clinical trials and research studies
▪ Medical oncology
▪ Hematology oncology
▪ Radiation therapy
▪ Infusion
▪ Advanced imaging
▪ Screening and diagnostic services
▪ Additional multi-specialty services based on the needs of St. Petersburg residents

The offer letter from the group also provides more details on the residential development. 

TPA has retained Barr & Barr as a construction manager for the site work and residential tower. Barr & Barr is one of the groups working on the mixed-use Midtown Tampa project in the Westshore area.  

TPA has a long-standing relationship with Barr and Barr, which also has an existing relationship with Moffitt Cancer Center, as it has worked on several projects for Moffitt.  

TPA has also retained Tampa-based Alfonso Architects and St. Pete-based George F. Young Civil Engineers as the design team for the residential tower.

Construction on the tower is expected to take place by the second quarter of 2022.

Further details on other components of the project were not disclosed. 

Next Steps 

As this was an unsolicited offer for city-owned land, it opens the floor to other developers to submit proposals for the site. 

Those interested must submit their proposals by Sept. 15. 

DeLisle said Kriseman will review the other offers, if any, and make the decision on which to move forward with. 

If the offer is accepted, the next steps include the group entering into a master development agreement to purchase and develop the property including the parking lot now leased by UPC immediately west of its current building. 

The city would resolve existing known environmental conditions on the site to the satisfaction of the project development group, lenders and partners.

The city will also transfer a fee title to the existing UPC parking area for UPC’s continued use and future corporate headquarters, according to the city documents. 

Editor’s note: The story has been updated with new information from UPC 

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  1. Avatar

    Carl Richard Lavender

    August 16, 2021at5:21 pm

    Absolutely brilliant strategy.

  2. Avatar


    August 16, 2021at8:03 pm

    A plus plus plus proposal by TPA, Moffitt & UPC, local powerhouses teaming, progressive forward thinking providing & injecting much needed services and economic impact. What a great density addition this will be, filling out & broadening the downtown skyline. It’s going to be truly exciting to follow & watch this being built. Another great day in the sunshine city Burg. One love always!!!!

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