St. Petersburg added more than 850,000 square feet of office space in the decade between 2009 and 2019, according to a new report from Commercial Café.
That made St. Pete one of the top “small” cities in Florida — cities with less than 300,000 population — for office development, the report from the commercial real estate blog said.
The new space still hasn’t met the demand from growing businesses already in the area and those that want to relocate here. Downtown St. Petersburg office vacancy rates are at record lows, city development administrator Alan DeLisle told City Council members in November. The office vacancy rate in Pinellas County was 6.4 percent as of Oct. 7.
DeLisle highlighted a handful of projects that will bring more than 300,000 square feet of new office space — among them, a new headquarters for United Insurance Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: UIHC) and a redevelopment at the old police headquarters.
In addition, Pinellas County is building a 40,000-square-foot office service center at 2500 34th St. N. that is slated to open this summer.
There’s strong interest throughout Florida for more office space, in part because Florida has the highest percentage of entrepreneurs in the United States, Commercial Café said. Statewide, 10 small Florida cities added 9.5 million square feet of office inventory in 94 new properties between 2009 and 2019.
In St. Petersburg, there’s 10.2 million square feet of office space, about 90 percent of it built prior to 2009.
Most of the new office space in the past decade came from four Class A properties, and much of it was medical office space. Nearly all of the newly developed space is owner-occupied, meaning there’s little room for new businesses looking to establish a foothold here.
The new developments are:
• The 225,000-square-foot Johns Hopkins All Children’s Research and Education building that opened in September 2018, as well as the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Outpatient Care Center with 256,598 square feet that opened in 2010
• Suncoast Medical Clinic a 106,573-square-foot structure that opened in 2013 on the campus of St. Anthony’s Hospital
• Two buildings built in 2013 with a combined 302,588 square feet on ASI Way North, the headquarters of American Strategic Insurance, a property and casualty insurance firm majority owned by The Progressive Corp. (NYSE: PGR)
A multi-tenant property at 136 4th St. N. in the city’s central business district is the only property less than 100,000 square feet to be completed in the past 10 years in St. Petersburg, Commercial Café said. It’s also the only one to be designated as Class B space.
Housing activity has been slow in St. Petersburg, with just 2,000 units built in the past decade, although average income for St. Petersburg residents has grown 40 percent to $58,000 in the same time frame, the report said.