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Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States

South St. Pete Redevelopment Part II: 22nd Avenue and I-275

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So, in South St. Pete Redevelopment Part I, we outlined a plan for the development of a major mixed-use center, primarily retail, for south St. Pete. The development of this retail center involved several key things, mainly the realignment of SPC facilities and the ability of the city and/or private developer to obtain control of several properties along the 34th Street South corridor. However, if/when all the pieces came together, a major center would be developed that would change 34th Street South and south St. Pete forever, for the better!

Now, the other major proposal for south St. Pete is the redevelopment of the 22nd Avenue S and I-275 interchange area. This proposal involves a major re-construction of the interchange to allow for major redevelopment around it. The goal is to create a walkable, mixed-use district (retail, housing and office) around a proposed transit station that spans both sides of I-275. The area currently includes a mix of strip shopping centers, and industrial center and single-family homes on dead-end streets. The redeveloped area creates greater connectivity within the area, and redevelops all properties into an urban mixed-use center.

The first step involves the reconstruction of the interchange at 22nd Avenue S and I-275. This concept involves combining the 22nd Avenue S and 26th Avenue S interchanges into one, with one-way frontage roads on each side of the interstate. The second step is building a bridge for a 24th Avenue S underpass under I-275. This creates additional connectivity, with 24th Avenue becoming the center and pain pedestrian pathway east and west.

The majority of the commercial space would be focused on 34th Street. On the east side of the street would be mixed-use buildings (dark red), 3 to 5-stories in height with retail at the base and office and/or residential on the floors above. On the west side of the street would be purely retail space (light red). All parking (light gray) would be in the rear of the buildings. The fronts would have generous sidewalks and landscaping to encourage walking.

East of I-275, the concept calls for an office-building (blue) of 5- to 7-stories. This could be used by one large company or several smaller companies, bringing much needed jobs to the area. This would be served by structured parking (dark gray) to the north, that would also be public parking for transit riders. To the south would be a mixed-income apartment building (purple) surrounding structured parking (dark gray). Further south, at 31st Street and 26th Avenue S, would be brand-name hotel (orange) to serve the area.

This mixed-use center, combined with the new major center to the south would completely transform 34th Street S and lead to further redevelopment throughout south St. Pete.

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No Parking

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The last post focused on creating an urban overlay district for the inner neighborhoods of St. Petersburg. The goal is to create zoning to encourage the development a true urban environment in these neighborhoods. One of the biggest issues will be parking. With all of these new housing units and businesses, where will people park? The ideal is that parking will not be needed, as residents will be able to walk most places. Also, less parking means more room for actual building space.

So how would this work? Within the overlay district will be different parking requirements. Developers would have the opportunity to completely eliminate parking or greatly reduce the parking they are required to provide by paying a mobility fee. This fee would be based on the cost of providing parking, road improvements and alternate forms of transportation. The fee would be less than the cost of parking to incentivize participation. For instance, to reduce parking by 100%, the fee would be 50% of the cost of building the parking. To reduce parking by 50%, the fee would be 75%of the cost of building the parking.

Where would the money go? The money collected would go into a local transportation trust fund. The money in this trust fund would be used for transportation initiatives within the district. One possibility is using the funds as leverage to build a streetcar system that residents could use to move throughout the overly district, and eventually throughout the entire city. The funds could also be used for such things as sidewalk installation and repair, bike lanes and road repaving. Developers would get a greater return on their investment by the ability to build more on their properties. The properties would have greater value from their greater use, increasing tax revenue to the city. The city would also get a new revenue stream for transportation improvements. And the city overall becomes more attractive as an urban environment. Sounds like a winner to me!

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