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

December 6 Update - City Council voted to continue the Bezu hearing to Dec. 13 to allow council member Steve Kornell to be in attendance (he was out of town Dec. 6). The meeting will be at city hall (175 5th St. N) at 3 pm. Kornell has been one of four council members who have voted against Bezu in the past. At the meeting, City council, acting as the "Community Redevelopment Agency ("CRA"), will decide if Bezu is consistent with the Intown Redevelopment Plan ("IRP"). Among the plan requirements: new development should relate in building scale and mass with the surrounding neighborhood! Bezu would tower over the surrounding neighborhood rather than "relate" to the neighborhood.

What Happens Next - City council has voted twice 4 - 4  regarding Bezu. The last 4 - 4 vote this past August allowed Bezu plans to move forward. That decision has been challenged  in court by Preserve the 'Burg and other downtown residents. A court decision is not expected for many months. Another 4 -4 city council vote regarding the consistency of Bezu with the IRP will stop Bezu from proceeding. The project cannot happen without a majority of city council finding the project consistent with the IRP.

You can 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. Thank you to the many hundreds of you who have sent messages to city council asking them to stand up for keeping St. Petersburg special! It's time to send them another message! Even better, come to the December 13 city council meeting - a full house of concerned citizens is the best way for ensuring council votes to preserve the 'burg.

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 & the Coliseum 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 & Lou Gehrig stayed when the N.Y. Yankees called the 'Burg their spring home, is one of the designated landmarks on 4th Ave. 

"Bezu" is a 19 story 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 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!

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 advocacy  page.

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Preserve the 'Burg
P.O. Box 838
St. Petersburg, FL 33731
(727) 824-7802
info@preservetheburg.org
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