City picks plan for old police station in St. Pete’s Edge District

The plan includes offices, condos, apartments and ground-floor restaurant and retail space.

ST. PETERSBURG — Offices, condos, apartments, retail, restaurants and, perhaps most important, more parking.

Those are the elements of the project picked by the city Tuesday to replace the old police headquarters on the building’s 2-acre parcel in the Edge District. The city has agreed to sell that land to developer Edge Central Development Partners for $6.4 million.

It’s the second multi-use project announced for the district, on the “edge” of downtown to the west, in so many weeks.

But the project, which includes 30 apartments priced for middle-income families, includes no low-income housing. City officials had said they wanted low-income units included.

The plans will include 100,000 square feet of office space, 60 market-price condominiums and 30 apartments available at what’s called the workforce level. Workforce housing in this context means housing affordable to middle-income workers, or those who make between 80 and 120 percent of the area’s median income.

There will also be a 600-space parking garage, 400 spaces of which will be available to the public, providing much-needed parking to the shopping and restaurant district. And the plan calls for 22,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor.

The city abandoned its goal for low-income housing, or housing for those with an income up to 80 percent of the area’s median, on the property. When the city requested proposals for the property in January, it said it would like to see a mix of low, middle and market-rate housing.

“Any time you’re putting a project together, you’re always looking at what you’re trying to accomplish on the site,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “Affordable housing was something we wanted on the site, but it wasn’t our sole interest.”

Kriseman said there are about 1,000 units of affordable housing throughout downtown. He said downtown lacks options at the workforce level.

The amount of housing in the plan is far less than originally proposed. Edge Central’s initial proposal included 144 housing units, of which 104 were to be at the workforce level. Miller said the numbers were adjusted to accommodate for more office space at the city’s request.

Miller said the economics of building workforce housing are “difficult.”

“I think the administration decided they could create more of this type of housing less expensively in other parts of the city,” he said.

The development will be catty-corner to another development announced last week, which is set to include a boutique hotel with a rooftop bar and pool, food hall and co-working space on the 1200 block of Central.

“I think the edge district is certainly one of the hottest areas in the city right now,” Kriseman said. “There’s a lot of good things happening, and certainly this project from our perspective is a really great addition to the edge district and fulfills some needs.”

The development will replace the aging and soon-to-be-vacant old police headquarters on the 1300 block of Central Avenue. The police force moved into its new $78.3 million building across First Avenue N in the spring, and the old building is serving as a temporary city hall while that building undergoes renovations.

The way the deal is structured, Edge Central will lease the land with an option to buy it when the project is near completion. The sale price factors in the city paying to clear the lot of the old police buildings. If Edge Central clears the lot, it will come out of the $6.4 million sale price.

Miller said he expects demolition on the property to begin within a year, and construction to be complete 16 to 20 months after that.

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