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St. Pete-Clearwater airport director shares development plans for 130-acre property, more

Veronica Brezina

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The taxiway at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (Photo credit: James Borchuck)

The St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is teeing up a 130-acre site for mixed-use development. 

The 130-acre property that was a former golf course is the largest piece of undeveloped land in Pinellas County and has been perceived as the largest economic opportunity in the county

The airport has wrapped up an environmental assessment on the site – referred to as the Airco s- ite that is on the southeast of the airport’s property. The study is a critical step needed to pursue development on the property. 

“We can have any aeronomical uses, but we have to construct a taxiway system on the property for that use,” St. Pete-Clearwater Airport Director Tom Jewsbury said. 

The property, which the county controls, is zoned for office and industrial use.

The next step is to complete the infrastructure site study on how the land could be developed, which should be completed by the summer, and then proceed to issue a request for proposals.  

Completing these studies is essential in attracting larger users for example, the Lakeland Linder International Airport undertook studies including environmental assessments before securing e-commerce giant Amazon. 

Amazon’s air cargo facility new location represents Amazon Air’s largest facility in the Southeast, and has hired hundreds of employees. It expands its operations by more than 60 acres.  

When the study is complete at the St. Pete-Clearwater airport, a request for proposals will be advertised through Pinellas County.  

Other projects down the runway 

Last year, the airport finished a $22 million runway pavement rehab, refurbished the U.S. Customs facility and created an in-line baggage system. This year, it also has a hefty to-do list. 

“We have an airfield vault that we will be relocating it because it is at the south end and could have a negative impact on a future terminal expansion,” Jewsbury said. 

In Fiscal Year 2024, the airport will start the design process on a $65 million terminal expansion. 

Jewsbury said the airport plans to seek financial grants for the expansion, which is in the preliminary stages. 

The airport is also going to undergo a $10 million new taxiway and ramp rehab project. 

In addition to the infrastructure developments, the airport’s tenants are resuming construction. 

St. Pete-based 3 Daughters Brewing was to open a brewery inside the airport, but had to temporarily halt the construction due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The construction is now resuming and is expected to be completed before Thanksgiving, Jewsbury said. 

Mazarro's PIE

Mazzaro’s inside PIE.

Meanwhile, Mazzaro’s Italian Market was able to open in the airport last year.  

Jewsbury said he did give tenants an option to defer rent payments for two months during the pandemic, to help them navigate the financial uncertainties. 

New flights to launch 

The Canadian airline Swoop will start service this fall with St. Pete-Clearwater.

Nonstop flights from Swoop will begin Nov. 5 from Toronto Pearson International Airport and on Nov. 9 from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. 

Swoop joins Sunwing, another Canadian low-cost airline, as the second international airline servicing PIE. 

“International travel is coming back and we are starting to see Canadian borders loosen up restrictions, but there are still restrictions Europe, Latin America,” Jewsbury said.

“Business travel is very slow to return; however, our travelers are 95% leisure travelers,” he said about how the airport’s foot traffic is ramping up. 

Sun Country Airlines will launch a new route from St. Pete-Clearwater to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Nov. 25. 

Allegiant Air recently announced more nonstop connections through the airport, including a connection to Wichita, Kansas. 

The airport now has 65 nonstop flights. Pre-pandemic, it had roughly 55 nonstop flights. 

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    JOHN DONOVAN

    July 22, 2021at3:14 pm

    A jewel in Pinellas crown.

  2. Avatar

    Michael Kramer

    July 22, 2021at5:08 pm

    County and the airport should leave some space open for a multimodal transit hub. When the region gets light rail from Downtown Tampa to Downtown St. Pete, connecting the airport to the Carillon and then a light rail transit station would be ideal.

  3. Avatar

    Rick b

    July 23, 2021at3:42 pm

    Light rail will never happen. Pinellas county already tried it and it was voted down by the voters. There’s no need for light rail in Pinellas county it will never be profitable. Light rail is just not for this area.

  4. Avatar

    Michael Kramer

    July 24, 2021at12:24 am

    Light rail doesn’t have to be profitable, roads aren’t either. Yet studies have shown more economic return per mile on many rail lines than along the typical road. If profit is the only factor, then let’s close our parks as well in the county…

    Propose a referendum with a better list of road projects that would be funded by a 1-cent sales tax, more hesitant voters will support it. I would say propose a lower sales tax increase to be offset with an increase of the hotel tax, as many of our visitors are just as much a factor in our traffic and condition of our roads, but state law prevents a hotel tax revenue going towards such projects.

  5. Avatar

    Carl

    July 24, 2021at9:31 pm

    Just as the Trop Development project in St Pete has stood for Equity, we encourage the Airport project to do the same. Let every plan reflect where we are going as a County, not where we have been. The Future is now. Keep moving forward.

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