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What’s next for TradeWinds’ $500 million-plus expansion?

Mark Parker



Joe Smith, founder and CEO of 1754 Properties, said it is "time to heal some wounds" stemming from the TradeWinds Island Resort's recently approved expansion. Images provided.

The man overseeing the largest project in St. Pete Beach’s history is eager to turn critics into supporters.

Joe Smith is the founder and CEO of South Florida-based 1754 Properties, which owns the sprawling TradeWinds Island Resort. He can now add three towers with 629 hotel rooms, 68,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space and several public amenities to the 25-acre site at 5500 Gulf Blvd.

The St. Pete Beach City Commission narrowly approved the project April 24 in a 3-2 vote. Mayor Adrian Petrila and Commissioner Betty Rzewnicki opposed the massive expansion.

“We hope we can impress the two that did not vote for us and … make them supporters over time,” Smith told the Catalyst. “That’s what we’re all about – winning over those folks who are cautious about the project.”

The project will add three hotel towers with 629 keys to the 25-acre property. Smith believes naysayers will appreciate the final product. Once complete, TradeWinds will feature 1,596 hotel keys, 170,126 feet of accessory space, multiple parking garages, a conference hall, three swimming pools, a children’s activity center, a surfing simulator and a glass-bottomed observation deck.

The project’s previously estimated price tag was $500 million. Smith said that has increased due to rising construction costs.

Redevelopment concerns focused on traffic, noise, view and environmental impacts, which 1754 Properties worked to address. Smith said community engagement will continue, and he is already planning a function for the resort’s neighbors.

“I think its time to heal the wounds, bring everyone back together and let them know that TradeWinds is still their home,” Smith said. “We very much want the community at our property. These neighbors are our friends … even though we might have disagreements at times.”

Smith said disapproval was an ongoing concern throughout the three-year process. He noted that 1754 Properties made several concessions “until the last moment.”

Joe Smith, founder and CEO of South Florida-based 1754 Properties.

The development team will now create a new public beach access point on the property’s north side in the expansion’s first phase. Smith said they planned that for the project’s fourth and final phase.

The change was to appease community concerns. Smith said the development team acquiesced to “almost everything that was reasonably asked of us.”

Parking garages will feature faux landscaping to increase aesthetics and block headlights. The developer will provide $1.25 million for local transportation projects.

Smith will restore dunes throughout the property. He expects conservancy efforts and sea turtle protection costs to top $5 million.

The project also includes several stormwater infrastructure upgrades. Smith said the hearing was not just about what 1754 Properties stood to gain from approval.

“It’s about what the community might lose if it’s not approved,” he added. “And those environmental benefits are top of mind in terms of things that were either going to happen or not based on that vote.”

Smith also believes the project will further St. Pete Beach’s reputation as a national destination. He most anticipates building a beachfront boardwalk and the glass-bottomed observation deck.

He said the free – and publicly accessible – amenities and a mural fronting Gulf Boulevard will create a “more upscale presence.” Smith called those community assets people will enjoy “for generations to come.”

The development team estimates the expansion, which could take up to 20 years to conclude, will generate $409 million in state and local taxes. They also expect it to support 508 annual jobs.

A construction timeline.

The 20-year agreement was a source of concern for some commissioners. Smith pointed to the pandemic and 2009 recession and said, “You never know what happens in life.”

He explained that rushing the project could result in shoddy construction and empty buildings that don’t contribute to the local tax base. However, he said 1754 Properties would “absolutely try to build it faster than 20 years.”

The company also enlisted the structural engineer who analyzed the 2021 Champlain Towers South collapse in Surfside, Florida. Smith said that was intentional, and the development agreement mandates periodic building foundation assessments to prevent similar disasters.

The development team is now securing construction permits, which Smith said could take several months. He hopes the project’s first phase – including a 12-story, 154-key hotel on the property’s southside, a two-story beachfront restaurant, a pool and a six-story parking garage – will conclude in early 2027.

Presented documents show the redevelopment wrapping up by 2043. Smith said the development team often jokes that selling the property is impossible due to construction and community obligations.

“Our plan is to hold this for at least 20 years,” he added. “We’re so grateful to the people of St. Pete Beach and the commission for giving us the privilege to build something like this for the community.”

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





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  1. Avatar

    S. Rose Smith-Hayes

    May 4, 2024at6:11 pm

    I missed the comments about parking Will there be any parking garages and for how many cars. In addition, where exactly will this be built? I miss that point.
    Good Luck

  2. Avatar

    Jim Parent

    May 1, 2024at4:26 pm

    It is obvious that you and your team are not just trying to renovate an aging resort but are doing so much more for the community. This is a new investment to the area in the form of a new dune wall, Turtle friendly lighting, and brand new public beach accesses.

    I also really appreciated the honesty with regard to the timeline of the project and what some of those difficulties might be. It’s definitely refreshing to see quality being more important than doing something quickly, especially with something of this magnitude in development.

    There is no doubt that improving TradeWinds Resort in such a thoughtful way will make the site even more appealing and add more to the reputation of St. Pete Beach as a must-visit place. Congratulations on your work, and I’m looking forward to seeing your final product!

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