In anticipation of the city’s new Community Benefits Agreement ordinance, Midtown Development makes its best and final offer to the City of St. Petersburg by proposing its own commitment to a Community Benefits Agreement, for a Highway Task Force and Local Businesses
Midtown Development proposes Community Benefits Agreement funding Interstate-175 Connectivity Task Force and $10 Million Local Business Retail Program
On the City of St Petersburg’s council agenda this past week they reviewed a city agency proposal to implement a community benefits plan to require developers on large-scale projects to fund certain community benefits programs, and the Tropicana Field Redevelopment would be included. Midtown Development had the foresight to devise a community benefits plan in advance of the city ordinance taking effect.
This July, Midtown Development announced details of its augmented offer within its “Creekside” proposal for the redevelopment of the Tropicana Field Site, adding more than $15 million of additional community benefits. Among those benefits is a $500,000 Highway Task Force to kick-start connectivity of the Tropicana Redevelopment to South St. Petersburg, and a $10,000,000 Retail Storefront Program to promote new and expanding local businesses. [Excerpts from press release]
$500,000 Highway Task Force
In March 2021, following a community presentation by the proposed developers for the Tropicana Redevelopment, Midtown is now demonstrating that they heard and understand St Petersburg’s needs from the redevelopment. “We have heard from the community that one of the most pressing matters is the connectivity to South St. Pete, which is why Midtown will be funding the task force regarding the future of I-175, and we have committed $500,000 towards this initiative,” said Alex Vadia, Principal of Midtown Development. “It is not Midtown’s goal or intention to control this process; rather, we see ourselves as facilitators, and we are here to move the process forward.”
Adding momentum to the process, Midtown Development has engaged Clary Consulting, the foremost experts in Florida Department of Transportation matters, to create a task force of City staffers, the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation groups, leaders in business and the community, hospitals, FDOT District 7, and Forward Pinellas—who are currently in the process of a Downtown Mobility Study—to name a few. Midtown has indicated that Lowell Clary and his team will help the task force engage the greater community toward making decisions considerate of all voices.
$10,000,000 Retail Storefront Program
Local business shop members support Midtown’s proposed community agreement to support in the retail stores in the city “St. Petersburg’s vibrant and eclectic, locally owned businesses form the fabric of the community,” said Vadia. “We have listened to the needs, wants, and desires of the members of the community through the public outreach efforts organized by the City of St. Petersburg and our Creekside team, and a result of these discussions is our creation of a $10 million program for the creation and growth of a local business.”
The funds in the Retail Storefront Program would be used for retail and storefront buildout, making spaces ready for independent local businesses to move in. In addition to the storefront buildouts, eligible businesses can apply for grant funding for a variety of uses and incentives. Midtown’s proposed Community Benefits Agreement requirements would mirror St. Petersburg’s existing Storefront Conservation Corridor Plan, with adjustments for the Creekside neighborhood, targeting new and existing local businesses.
“This increased commitment to public benefits is a direct result of our continued engagement with residents of St. Petersburg,” stated Vadia.
Creekside Highlights by the Numbers
Midtown Development’s $238 Million Financial Commitment, formerly a $190 Million, includes:
$60 Million fee-simple purchase for the land, under contract with a signed Development Agreement with the City of St. Petersburg
$10 Million as an upfront payment to the City of St. Petersburg
$94 Million towards public infrastructure/improvements
$5 Million as an upfront investment towards Unlocking Opportunities
$1 Million towards For All From All Program
$30 Million small box retail and creative office Proof of Concept Investment (100,000 square feet)
Recently Announced Program Additions:
$12,500,000 added commitment of post-COVID indoor/outdoor office space (an additional 100,000 square feet of office space)
$10,000,000 Local Retail Storefront Program
$500,000 I-175 Task Force
$1,000,000 Community Benefits Foundation a
Learn More about Midtown Development
Midtown has reiterated the requirement still remains, as it was since the beginning of the proposal, no more than $75 million in already allocated tax-increment financing from the city for infrastructure.
“This process has only sealed our conviction of what Midtown Development wants to accomplish. We want to be part of St. Petersburg’s future, we want to be part of the solution to the challenges faced by its community, and want to create an inclusive, livable, and vibrant neighborhood,” concluded Vadia.
We are encouraging St Pete Talk readers to learn more about Midtown Development’s proposal for the redevelopment of the Trop in St. Petersburg and their existing Midtown Miami neighborhood, by visiting their recently launched Instagram account @midtown.dev.
Midtown Development, led by Alex Vadia, is a real estate investment company specializing in community-focused developments, with ongoing projects in major metro areas throughout Florida, including Midtown Miami, the 56-acre mixed-use walkable community located in the center of the arts district in Miami, and a 22-acre mixed-use community in downtown Orlando. Following the acquisition of a site, Midtown Development assumes an active role in curating the community, building neighborhoods in line with a vision for walkable, connected districts that raise the value of the entire area while unlocking opportunities.
Images and links
Image A: Highway Taskforce I-175 Exploratory Sketches
Caption: Connectivity with South St. Pete is a major priority, and we’ve begun to explore the possibilities. Our landscape architects at Hood Design Studio made this sketch, depicting a potential removal of I-175.
During the highway boom of the 1950’s and 60’s, highways radically reshaped cities, destroying dense downtown neighborhoods, along with cultural and economic centers, bringing decades of environmental harm, displacing more than a million people across the country, most of them Black, and increasing car dependence. Now, some cities in the country are looking to take them out.
When completed in 1980, I-175 severed the Gas Plant neighborhood to the north from the park created for African-Americans to the south. Sugar Hill was paved over as well.
Image B: Highway Taskforce I-175 Exploratory Sketches
Caption: Our landscape architects at Hood Design Studio made this sketch, depicting a potential removal of I-175. Their firm is in the middle of a research project investigating the impacts that highways have in our urban areas, and how design can mitigate them.
Image C: A Glimpse Of Moments in Midtown Miami
St. Pete is somewhere special — this we know and appreciate. Our objective is not to “Miami your St. Pete,” but we do want to share what we’ve made happen in another community, Midtown Miami.
Just a few years ago, Midtown was known as the bleak and industrial “Buena Vista Yards” site, home only to freight.
Today, Midtown Miami is a thriving community with small, local businesses and a walkable destination for locals, tourists, and thousands of residents driving Miami’s future forward. Visit the following link to get a glimpse of moments in Midtown Miami.
Image D: Instagram @midtown.dev
Caption: Learn more about Midtown’s Proposal via Instagram @midtown.dev