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

December 14 Update - City Council voted yesterday to deny Bezu by finding the development to be inconsistent with the Intown Redevelopment Plan ("IRP"). Thanks go to council members Darden Rice, Gina Driscoll, Steve Kornell and Chair Lisa Wheeler-Bowman for voting to keep St. Petersburg special. You can read the news story about the vote here. Thanks also to the many hundreds of you who spoke up and spent many hours at hearings. Your doing so made the difference!

What Happens Next - Bezu, at least in its present form, cannot proceed. It will now be up to the developer to determine what to do next. PTB urges him to rethink his ideas and to bring forward a plan for the small parcel that compliments and fits with the scale of the neighborhood.

You can help - While we hope the development conflict is over, we urge you to keep up with what's next by being a PTB Facebook friend and a subscriber to the PTB enews. Raise 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.

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" started as a 21 story proposal, later modified to 19 stories. It was proposed as a 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 historic Flori de Leon apartments (pictured above). The Bezu was 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 was the antithesis of pedestrian and neighborhood friendly.

Development  proposals like Bezu clearly call 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 to keeping St.  Petersburg special.

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.

#KeepStPeteSpecial

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Preserve the 'Burg
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