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Fortu owners to open new Mediterranean restaurant downtown

Shan Bakrac, owner of the pan Asian steakhouse Fortu, has announced a new concept in downtown St. Petersburg is forthcoming. Eve, a contemporary Mediterranean restaurant, will open in the long-delayed Galaxy Hotel project at 110 3rd Ave. N. The ownership group expects the 5,600-square-foot space that will seat 174 people to open in the winter or early 2025.

CareFest helps complete home, neighborhood projects

St. Petersburg officials encourage residents and neighborhood organizations to submit local projects for consideration in the city’s annual CareFest event. Volunteers will help with yard work, painting, neighborhood cleanups, donation drives and beautification projects. Amy Foster, housing and neighborhood services administrator, said volunteers completed over 400 projects in 2023, and “CareFest embodies the spirit of St. Pete.” For more information, visit the website here.

Nonprofit helps families create home libraries

The Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County is kicking off a new program called Ready to Read Pinellas. Families can sign up and receive a free book in the mail each month from the time their child is born until they are 5 years old. The goal is to get kids reading and prepare them for kindergarten. 

Airline announces new St. Pete-Clearwater nonstop connections

Allegiant Air will be offering new nonstop flights between St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) and Evansville, Indiana via Evansville Regional Airport (EVV), and McAllen, Texas via McAllen International Airport (MFE). Flights to EVV begin today and flights to MFE begin Friday and must be booked through the airline's website, Allegiant.com.

Tropicana Field ranks among nation’s most affordable ballparks

While plans for a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium have dominated local discourse, Tropicana Field continues to provide one of the nation's best values. USA Today recently released its rankings of America’s most affordable gameday experiences, and the Trop ranked fourth. The average cost for a family of four to attend a game and buy a beer, sodas, hotdogs and a hat was just $205.81 in St. Petersburg.

Straz Center COO Lorrin Shepard to retire

Lorrin Shepard, chief operating officer of the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, has announced his retirement after 34 years at the Tampa facility. In 2001, Shepard was named executive vice president and general manager, and in 2005 became COO. He managed the construction and opening of the $8 million Dr. Pallavi Patel Performing Arts Conservatory in 2004, and is currently serving as the project manager for the Straz Center's $100 million Master Plan renovation; he will continue as a consultant on the Master Plan after his retirement. 

Pinellas welcomes Florida’s first Wawa drive-through

Pennsylvania-based Wawa, a convenience store chain known for its loyal following and food options, opened its first standalone drive-through location in Florida Thursday morning at 2530 East Bay Drive in Largo.  The drive-through will offer a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, a new line of specialty drinks and bakery items. The Largo location is Wawa’s third standalone drive-through store nationwide.

Tampa Bay housing market among nation’s ‘fastest-cooling’

Redfin recently found that the nation’s three fastest-cooling housing markets are on Florida’s Gulf Coast, with Tampa Bay placing second to the North Port-Venice metro area. The real estate platform’s researchers measured changes from April 2023 through April 2024 and discovered Tampa Bay home prices fell 43%. While 39% of area homes sell within two weeks, that represents an 11.8% decrease. In addition, price discounts increased 8% year-over-year.

Local advertising startup acquires Miami-based printing company

Tampa-based Nickelytics, an advertising technology startup, has acquired Signs Printing Solutions, an independent print shop headquartered in Miami. Nickelytics executives believe integrating the company into operations will streamline production processes, improve quality control, reduce costs and diversify revenue streams. The acquisition will also allow Nickelytics to offer additional in-house printing and advertising services.

St. Pete cancels City Hall on Tour event Wednesday

The mayoral administration has canceled the City Hall on Tour event initially scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the St. Petersburg College Gibbs Campus. The event would have followed an all-day city workshop regarding plans to redevelop Tropicana Field and build a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium. The next City Hall on Tour stop is Sept. 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the USF St. Petersburg Student Center.

Rain forecast trims ‘Hedwig’ schedule at Jannus Live

Citing the weather forecast, American Stage has canceled the Thursday and Sunday evening performances of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on the outdoor stage at Jannus Live. The rock musical will go on as scheduled Friday and Saturday nights.

All Children’s feeds kids throughout summer

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is again participating in St. Petersburg’s Summer Break Spot initiative to help provide families with nutritious meals during the summer break. Children under 18 can visit the facility’s cafeteria between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and receive a free lunch until Aug. 6. The program is open to the public, and the hospital’s food service team provides the meals.

The St. Pete Catalyst

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