Developable land is at a premium in and around St. Petersburg – the largest municipality in Florida’s densest county – and a local college has it in spades.
St. Petersburg College (SPC) is unloading two properties totaling over 32 acres. The largest, the Allstate Campus, encompasses 17.2 acres at 3200 34th St. S.
Project stakeholders have varying opinions of what should become of the site near the rapidly evolving Skyway Marina District. College officials recently hired Dallas-based CBRE, a global real estate services and investment firm, to facilitate the land sale and subsequent redevelopment.
“The Allstate Campus – that zoning, depending what you do and build and how you design it – has incredible density,” said David Conn, executive vice president for CBRE. “By my interpretation … you could build over 1,000 multifamily units. You could do over 800,000 feet of retail.”
The second site, currently home to SPC’s Health Education Center, encompasses 15.2 acres at 7200 66th St. N. in Pinellas Park. While that property’s zoning doesn’t allow the same density, Conn believes it will also become a mixed-use development.
He noted the Allstate Campus sits across the street from the former Ceridian Office Park. In December 2021, Miami-based Altis Cardinal bought the 34-acre site for $40 million in an all-cash deal.
The developer’s proposed Skyway Village will feature 2,084 housing units, 80,920 square feet of commercial space, 22,500 square feet of office space, 119,160 square feet of accessory self-storage use and 4,000 parking spaces. Despite neighborhood compatibility and traffic concerns, St. Petersburg’s Development Review Commission approved the project in October 2023.
According to CBRE’s announcement, nearby I-275 carries over 93,000 vehicles daily. In a recent interview, Conn said the firm is already “seeing tremendous interest” in the Allstate Campus.
“We’re not going to limit anyone’s thinking by suggesting what they should or shouldn’t build there,” he added. “I do think it’s going to be a high-density mixed-use project.”
Lee Ann Korst, senior vice president within CBRE’s Public Institutions Group, then noted that SPC seeks a “good community partner.” The college’s leadership recently found one in the City of St. Petersburg.
The city acquired SPC’s former Gibbs Wellness Center at 7045 Burlington Ave. N. for $4.2 million. Administrators plan to build 105 affordable townhomes, with 30% reserved for students and faculty, on the 5.23-acre site.
Conn said the city or an affordable housing developer can also bid on the property. He also believes the goal is consolidating college operations and raising money.
“From our perspective, what they’re trying to do here is … monetize underutilized assets to fund mission-critical educational priorities,” Korst said.
Councilmember John Muhammad, who represents the area, said the properties present a rare opportunity to significantly impact the community. He also hopes the redevelopment would feature “much-needed” affordable housing for those earning less than 80% of the area median income and prioritize “people over profits.”
“I encourage St. Petersburg College, CBRE and potential developers to organize meetings with the community to gather input on what the residents would like to see and explore how the development aligns with the needs and aspirations of our diverse population,” Muhammad said. “Collaboration … will ensure the project truly enhances educational opportunities, promotes economic growth and contributes positively to our vibrant community.”
Janette Hunt, SPC’s vice president of finance and business operations, said in a prepared statement the college envisions leveraging the properties to support those goals. However, Conn believes there are no “preconceived notions” about what the redevelopments will entail.
He said the college would consider an offer under the highest bid if it was unique and provided additional community benefits. Conn added that SPC officials “haven’t lost sight of the big picture” and could use the money to improve other facilities.
Korst said the residential components could provide student housing. Conn suggested that a hotel or medical office could offer workforce training.
He said there is ongoing demand for rental units and single-family homes. Conn credited increasing costs and interest for slowing new construction.
“The Ceridian will get developed; this property will get developed,” Conn said. “They (developers) haven’t over-built, despite all the stuff you’ve seen going up. They’re all leased up.”
Misty Bottorff, executive director of the Skyway Marina District, said the organization realized it needed additional housing to increase the area’s median income during master planning. That was completed in 2014, and she noted that aspirations have evolved.
“Now is the time to bring the community the retail, restaurants and entertainment it desires,” Bottorff added. “We hope the developer will become a partner with the Skyway Marina District and further the vision of the area.”
Interested developers must submit offers on the Allstate Campus by March 15 at 3 p.m. Proposals for the Pinellas Park property are due three days later.
Conn said the college will “definitely” select a firm within six months. Korst noted SPC’s Board of Trustees must approve the selection.