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Tradewinds expansion expected to generate $3.5 billion in sales

Mark Parker

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The project will three hotel towers with 629 keys to the 25-acre property.

A massive $500 million expansion that will bring three new hotel towers to the TradeWinds Island Resort’s 25-acre beachfront property has cleared its first hurdle.

St. Pete Beach City Hall erupted in cheers and applause as the planning board unanimously approved a conditional use permit and development agreement with 1754 Properties Monday evening. The South Florida-based firm owns TradeWinds and its five existing resorts.

With the city commission’s approval, the redevelopment will add 629 hotel rooms, 68,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space and 2,113 parking spaces to the property at 5500 Gulf Blvd. The development team expects the 20-year project to generate $3.5 billion in local business sales and support 508 annual jobs.

“There aren’t thousands of people writing emails and here opposing this project because people see real good in this project,” said development attorney S. Elise Batsel. “I think they really recognize the effort the developer has made to put their best foot forward.”

The TradeWinds redevelopment’s first phase will include a 12-story hotel and two-story restaurant and bar with noise-mitigating retractable glass walls.

Batsel added that the proposal is the best she has seen “in a really, really long time.” She also represented Columbia Sussex, the Kentucky-based firm that received city approval Feb. 27 to redevelop the Sirata Beach Resort.

Tradewinds – just a block from the Sirata and its significant expansion – currently features 967 rooms and villas and 102,373 square feet of restaurant and retail space. A construction timeline showed the project commencing in 2025 and completing in 2043.

Once complete, TradeWinds will feature 1,596 hotel keys and 170,126 feet of accessory space. The developer will also build multiple parking garages, a conference hall, three swimming pools and a children’s center with a bowling alley.

Joe Smith, founder and CEO of 1754 Properties, explained that zoning regulations would allow him to increase density by 16%. He said that equates to 1.2 million square feet.

“We could have built another International Mall on that site,” Smith added. “But we’re not … we’re doing a quality job that is lower density by self-limiting, by self-control. I hope you all see that.”

The $500 million redevelopment project’s site plan.

The project will encompass four phases. The first includes a 12-story, 154-room hotel with a pool, a two-story beachfront restaurant and a six-story parking garage.

Batsel said 1754 Properties would immediately create a temporary beach access point to accommodate residents. She noted that the developer would also install a new stormwater system “whether we build those other phases or not.”

Phase Two will feature an 11-story, 261-room hotel with rooftop amenities, five and seven-story parking garages, a pool, a new resort entrance and 34,517 square feet of ballroom, meeting and office space. Phase three will add a 12-story, 235-key hotel, a four-story parking garage, public beach access and 8,158 square feet of restaurant and retail space.

The final phase includes a two-story office and lobby building, a third public beach access point and a new frontage road. “That’s going to take a lot of traffic off of Gulf Boulevard,” Batsel said.

“Functionally, there’s a lot of site integration,” she added. “There will be pedestrian connectivity through the entire site.”

A view of the complete project from Gulf Boulevard.

In addition, Batsel said one management team would oversee the entire property, guests would use the same booking agency and branding would correlate throughout the various resorts. She said back-of-house hospitality operations would also share a centralized facility.

The city listed 39 project approval conditions, and the developer must contribute $1.25 million over 10 years to local transportation projects.

The development team expects the project to generate $409 million in state and local taxes. They will also fund dune restoration across the expansive property.

Smith recently told the Catalyst that environmental sustainability is “in our DNA.” He expects conservancy efforts and sea turtle protection costs to top $5 million.

An overhead, beachfront view of the 20-year project.

Redevelopment concerns focused on noise, traffic and beachfront view impacts. However, as Batsel noted, many area stakeholders support the expansion.

The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce endorsed the project Monday morning. In a prepared statement, CEO Robin Miller said it “exemplifies the kind of thoughtful growth we strive for …”

“This initiative prioritizes environmental responsibility, community impact and long-term resiliency – all key principles for our organization,” Miller wrote.

After a nearly four-hour meeting, the planning board unanimously agreed. The city commission will hear the proposal April 15 at 4 p.m.

An image highlighting the three additional hotel towers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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