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St. Pete DRC approves Kolter’s plans for Fit2Run site

Veronica Brezina

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An elevation rendering of the proposed Tempo by Hilton-flagged hotel at 232 and 256 2nd St. N. Image: The Kolter Group/city documents.

The St. Petersburg Development Review Commission has greenlighted the plans for The Kolter Group to move forward on its $43 million hotel project at the existing Fit2Run site. 

In a six-to-one vote with DRC member Todd Reed casting the sole no vote during the Wednesday DRC meeting, Kolter received area ratio bonuses and a variance change to the sidewalk. This allows the group to build a new 14-story, 192-room Tempo by Hilton-flagged hotel at 232 and 256 2nd St. N.

Kolter purchased the site in 2021 for a combined $7.5 million. Kolter is the same group behind the Art House at 200 Central Ave., and Saltaire at 300 1st St. South, that are currently under construction.

The property Fit2Run operates at. GoogleMaps.

The approval follows the Preserve the ‘Burg advocacy group filing a memo in opposition to Kolter’s plans, stating the property cannot be demolished as it is listed as a “contributing resource” in a national historic district.

Public speakers voiced concern on how the project doesn’t fit with the neighborhood, that it’s out of scale and may cause more traffic congestion in the area, which were concerns Preserve the ‘Burg Executive Director Manny Leto echoed during the public comment portion of the meeting. 

However, land use attorney Don Mastry was swift to argue the language in the memo as the building itself is not designated as a historical property and it has been extensively altered. 

“Just because a building was built more then 50 years ago, it doesn’t make it a contributing resource,” Mastry said, pointing out how the nearby historic Cordova Inn has also been significantly altered, among many other structures in the city. 

DRC member Melissa Rutland commented how the project is a fit unlike other proposed projects such as The Julia, a planned 18-story tower that would dwarf the historic Flori de Leon building – ultimately rejected by the DRC.

DRC member Charles Flynt also weighed in, stating the current Fit2Run building doesn’t have a historical significance and that he believes it would not negatively impact an adjacent property. 

The newly filed site plan shows the hotel will have a 127-space parking garage, which would be used by the 40 employees of the future hotel, and a ground-floor bar.

A rendering showing the north elevation of the proposed Tempo by Hilton-flagged hotel. Image: The Kolter Group/city documents.

The ground floor will consist of the hotel lobby, and two entrances to the parking garage and ground level parking spaces. Floors two through four will consist of parking. The fifth floor will have hotel amenity space and floors six through 13 will consist of hotel rooms. The 14th floor will also have amenities and a rooftop bar.

Pedestrian access to the hotel lobby will be from both 2nd Street and 3rd Avenue North. The parking garage entrance will be accessed from 3rd Avenue North. 

The Kolter team and the Ally Capital Group had previously submitted plans to the city calling for the demolition of the Fit2Run and Exchange Hotel in St. Petersburg to redevelop the sites into a mixed-use project encompassing a 35-story apartment complex and an adjacent 13-story hotel. However, those plans didn’t come to fruition and the newly submitted site plan application doesn’t include a residential component.

Kolter is working with Orlando-based L2 Studios Inc. as the architect, and the St. Petersburg-based Booth Design Group and the Tampa-based Hamilton Engineering and Surveying firm. The developer notes in its application that the project will likely enhance property values in this area.

Due to the purchase and plan to demolish the existing building, retailer Fit2Run is planning to relocate to another St. Pete location. 

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