The office, housing and retail project planned for the site of the former St. Petersburg Police headquarters has all the factors the EDGE District needs for longterm success, the leader of the district’s business association told the St. Petersburg City Council.
A parking garage that will be part of the project is especially important, said Barbara Voglewede, executive director of the EDGE Business District Association, just before the City Council approved a lease and development agreement with EDGE Central Development Partners for the property at 1300 1st Ave. N.
While Thursday’s vote to approve the deal was unanimous, at least one City Council member is questioning the need for more office space in light of workforce changes brought out by the Covid-19 pandemic.
EDGE Central plans a 100,000-square-foot Class A office building, 22,000 square feet of retail space, at least 56 residential condos, 30 workforce rental apartments and a 600-space parking garage. The development will be organized around a new civic plaza, which will include a tribute monument to The Courageous 12, the 12 Black St. Petersburg police officers who sued the city to gain the full rights of their white counterparts.
Voglewede said the developers worked closely with the EDGE Business District Association, which wanted to be sure the redevelopment was aligned with its own plans, met current and future needs of the community, and that it would fit the character and fabric of the district.
“To us, the EDGE Central development hits a home run on all three counts,” Voglewede said. “One key reason is the inclusion of the parking garage that houses 400 public spaces, which will be a lifesaver. Parking inventory has been rapidly disappearing in our district and it’s been a race to find interim solutions while working on the end goal of a public parking garage. At this moment, there are proposed developments that will take our last two public parking lots offline in the next year, so it’s even more imperative that we see EDGE Central’s public parking spaces come online.”
The office component of the project is important in a city that sorely needs Class A space to attract and retain businesses, said City Council members Darden Rice and Gina Driscoll.
“If this is going to be more than just a place to go out to eat or rent an apartment, we’ve got to do projects like this that make it a more well-rounded district,” said Driscoll, Council vice chairman. Her council district includes the EDGE District.