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Sold! The Factory St. Pete changes hands

Bill DeYoung

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Artist Ricky Watts painted a SHINE mural on the north facade of The Factory St. Pete in 2021. Publicity photo.

Since its debut in 2020, The Factory St. Pete has struggled to become the arts hub its founders envisioned.

Liz Dimmitt, who originally purchased the 6.5 acres of industrial buildings and warehouses (totaling 90,000 square feet) with Jordan and Kara Behar, bought her partners out in January.

This week, Dimmitt sold the property at 2606 Fairfield Avenue S. to a group registered as Factory Investors of St. Pete, LLC, led by Anderson Group financier Thomas F. Gaffney and his son, Cory Gaffney.

“What I’m very excited about with this transition is that these are local investors who get it, and believe in the arts, and are going to build on that dream of The Factory as the hub for the arts in St. Pete. And help realize that dream.”

Dimmitt’s 12,000-square-foot immersive art experience, Fairgrounds St. Pete, will remain an anchor tenant. “And as a tenant, we’re excited about the future and what is coming: Infrastructure improvements, better lighting, way-finding signage, those sort of things. Growing the Factory.”

DJ Night at The Factory St. Pete. Photo provided.

In St. Petersburg’s art community, rumors have been swirling for weeks about the future of The Factory, which is also home to 15 artist studios, art galleries and retail establishments including St. Pete stalwart Daddy Kool Records.

The investors, Dimmitt said, “understand that cool community we have there, and are looking to just enhance that.”

Which means that “none of the tenants are leaving, and the artists are all going to be moved into what we call Gallery Row, Buildings 7 and 8, where Drew Marc Gallery and the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation are.

“Nobody’s getting kicked out; they’re getting, I think, more improvement, more visibility, a studio area that has natural light – which will make a big difference, because they do not have that now.”

“But I think having that Gallery Row really activated, with both the artist studios and the galleries … my goal is to make The Factory the place to see and buy art in Tampa Bay. Period.”

Dimmitt said her role – along with staying on as a rent-paying tenant – is now as the “art director” for The Factory, assisting with the design, layout and overall look of the facility.

Numerous weekly and monthly events are held at The Factory, including artist talks and salons, concerts, social gatherings and the popular Indie Flea.

“The commitment to the arts stays,” said Dimmitt, who will make a major announcement about Fairgrounds June 3. “And to making it better.

“It’s a long-term investment, not someone who is going to flip the property and do something else. And I know that they will up the game in the property management area.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    John

    June 4, 2024at7:42 am

    Yes, all we need is more Pickleball. R.I.P. to the arts and culture. Glad a few people got a nice paycheck out of it 🙂

  2. Avatar

    Shawna Tapley

    June 2, 2024at8:36 am

    Hi there, I have done a few events there and really had a wonderful time. But I didn’t get to find out how I would go about having my art there.i would really like for someone to connect me with some information. Plus I live close by so I wouldn’t have to drive to far. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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