Protecting the Downtown National Register Historic District - No to "Bezu"
Your voice is needed now – Send your message to city council!

August 2 Update - On August 2, city council on a 4 -4 vote denied PTB's appeal of the staff & DRC decision to approve Bezu. Although the vote was deadlocked, such a vote allows Bezu to proceed. Thanks go to city council members Gina Driscoll, Darden Riche and Chair Lisa Wheeler-Bowman for supporting PTB's efforts to keep St. Petersburg special. Read the newspaper story here.

The 4 - 4 vote was unchanged from council's review of the original Bezu plan. In that instance, the vote was sufficient to derail the 23 story version of Bezu. After that voe,  the developer submitted an application for "son of Bezu", a slightly modified tower (19 instead of 23 stories) that will still loom over the surrounding neighborhood. It is as much out of place as the first proposal, particularly being in the midst of a historic district and next to the landmark seven story Flori de Leon apartments.

What Happens Next - Still to come is a city council determination as to whether Bezu is consistent with the downtown redevelopment plan. No date has been set yet for that hearing. You can still help by raising your voice in support of neighborhood & pedestrian friendly development by sending your message to City Council, just scroll to the bottom of the  page to send your message. Even if you have sent a message in the past, city council needs to hear from you again! Thank you to the many hundreds of you who have set messages to city council asking them to stand up for keeping St. Petersburg special!

Background - Downtown St. Petersburg has a special sense of place, largely derived from its mix of old and new! The importance of downtown's inventory of historic buildings to the city's special feel was recognized In 2004 with the designation of the Downtown National Register Historic District. The district generally encompasses the area between Central & 5th Avenues North.

Fourth Ave. N., between the waterfront & I-375 is particularly rich in its collection and mix of historic resources. Facing this portion of 4th Ave. are seven designated local landmark buildings (one has been relocated) and an additional six buildings that have been identified as eligible for landmark designation. The 1925 Flori de Leon Apartments, where Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig stayed when the N.Y. Yankees called the 'Burg their spring home, is one of the designated landmarks on 4th Ave. N. 

"Bezu" is a proposed high rise condo tower to be built atop a massive parking garage at the corner of 1st St. & 4th Ave. N. and immediately next to the Flori de Leon. The Bezu is simply too much development on too small of a piece of property within the heart of the National Register district. While our city prides itself on having a pedestrian friendly feel, in rising straight up 19 stories without setback on its 4th Avenue N. facade, Bezu is the antithesis of pedestrian and neighborhood friendly.

The Bezu proposal clearly calls on the city to determine if there are limits to the mass, height and intensity of downtown development and if the special feel of the Downtown National Register Historic District is to be protected. It is time to for the city to make clear that keeping our city special matters! Making your voice heard makes a difference - send your message NOW to city council. Tell them yes to preserving the 'Burg and no to Bezu.

Pictured to the right is a scaled drawing of the "son of Bezu" from the developer's application (showing Bezu next to the Flori de Leon). Pictured to the right, below, is a city staff report image showing Bezu looming over its neighboring buildings (Flori de Leon in the foreground). The pictures are indeed worth a 1000 words; bezu would be out of scale and out of place! You can see more images of the out of scale development by going to www.stopbezu.com.

It's easy to send your message to city council (council@stpete.org). You can write your own or just click on the link below to sign your name to a simple, ready to use message. Thanks for doing your part! Ask your family and friends to do so too!

Want to get more info about PTB's efforts to protect downtown's historic resources? Click here to go to the PTB First Block page or click here to go to the page about the 4th/5th Ave. N. corridor.

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Preserve the 'Burg
P.O. Box 838
St. Petersburg, FL 33731
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