Downtown Saint Petersburg, FL

“Downtown was the first part of Saint Petersburg that began to develop starting in the early 20th century. Shippingopened up with the dragging of the channel nearby and development began to grow exponentially Downtown. As St. Petersburg began as a tourist destination even from its early days, office has never had a major foothold here. Currently there are only about 10-20K office jobs Dwtn. Fortunately Dwtn has grown up to be a center of arts & cultural, a quality food & beverage scene, has many great waterfront parks, plenty of retails, and a good concentration of housing making it an attractive urban neighborhood. City leaders also had the vision to preserve much the City’s historic architecture (unlike Dwtn Tampa Bay) maintaining a wonderful concentration of historic buildings around Central Avenue. The urban form of the infill buildings is also pretty good.

Unfortunately due to a lack of walkable districts in St. Petersburg overall, housing is very expensive here. Other areas for improvement dwtn include more walkable schools, lack of some major dwtn amenities (i.e. convention center & dwtn library), missing transit line to the airport, and a good # of surface parking lots remaining on the western and southern edges of Dwtn. But with an on-going construction boom I anticipate Downtown St. Pete will get better and better and hopefully more office jobs will move here too.”

Click here to view my Downtown St. Petersburg Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

“* Excellent ADA and sidewalk infrastructure.

  • Solid density Dwtn.
  • Public transit is so in the Dwtn and surrounding neighborhoods but decent across St. Peterburg city limits and even decent to the northern suburbs.
  • Great street grid, good connectivity, and not too many wide 1-way streets.
  • Great bike lane system in the region and several dedicated bike lanes with Dwtn. Only Dwtn and a handful of inner city neighborhoods have dedicated bike stations.
  • Safety is generally very safe but some dead spots.
  • Much of Dwtn’s historic fabric remains and looks great. This is concentrated along Central Ave.
  • Modern in-fill is generally pretty good besides some of the design tackiness and auto centric bldgs on the edges of Dwtn.
  • Great tree canopy for a Dwtn.
  • Solid Dwtn vibrancy thanks to Dwtn’s decent population base.
  • Decent # of college students attending school within or near dwtn. USF St. Petersburg is just south of dwtn and enrolls 3,500 students. There is also a Dwtn Campus for St. Petersburg College.
  • Some very nice park spaces, especially along the waterfront. The crown jewel being the 26 acre St. Petersburg Pier, filled with many different recreational amenities.
  • Good cultural amenities including many great restaurants, bars, cafes, several breweries, tons of art galleries, both an independent theater & cineplex, and a handful of theaters (performing arts and live music)
  • Culturally a decent # of museum options (i.e. Fine Arts, History, Dali Museum, Holocaust, Chihuly, and lots of other smaller museums). Other Dwtn attractions include a soccer Stadium and the Devil Rays Stadium is just outside of Dwtn, a historic post office, and a decent # of gov’t bldgs.
  • Good retail amenities with 2 publixs, a couple drug stores, lots of brand name clothing stores, good # of boutiques, plenty of banks, lots of gift shops, a nice bookstore, plenty of dessert shops and gyms, a couple home good stores, plenty of churches, and two major hospitals on the edges.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

“* Lots of for-sale housing options but generally expensive. 1-bed condo sell anywhere btwn 100-1M, 2-beds mostly 500K-1.5M but some cheaper dated options selling btwn 200K-500K, older 3-beds sell btwn 550K-850K, newer 3 beds sell anywhere btwn 1-3M. Lots of 3 bed options esp. for a dwtn. Only a handful of 4 & 5 beds.

  • Decent # of rentals but also rather pricey. 1-beds lease in the 2Ks, 2-beds rent in the 2Ks & 3Ks, only a handful of 3-beds leasing for a bit more. A handful of affordable senior bldgs.
  • Only a handful of small schools Dwtn. A couple larger ones in surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Some nice skyline angles but generally Dwtn is filled bland residential medium sized towers and limited office towers. Taller bldgs are also spread apart.
  • Urban form generally good but a sizable # of surface parking lots remain in the southern and western edges of Dwtn.
  • Dwtn’s traditional civic plaza, Williams Park is disappointing. Pretty well designed but overrun by homeless and limited events. The St. Pete Pier is taking over as the Civic heart of Dwtn with lots of events and festivals but doesn’t have great central location.
  • No Convention Center Dwtn, no major dwtn library (although there is a local branch).
  • Dwtn is not a great employment hub. Prob the lowest amount of any major city. Total jobs dwtn is somewhere btwn 10-20K. Job are concentrated in more suburban areas like the Gateway St. Petersburg by the airport.”

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