by: Kevin McQuaid | Florida Business Observer, Commercial Real Estate Editor
After being selected from a shortlist of five last November to redevelop the former St. Petersburg police headquarters site, Edge Central Development Partners had planned to begin demolition this summer. In place of the old police station and offices, Edge Central intends to construct an $80 million mix of offices, condominiums, a parking garage, “workforce” apartments and ground-floor retail space. For the city’s Edge District and beyond, the project has been highly anticipated: The new offices will be the city’s first in about 30 years; the new condos the first in the district in more than a decade. Mayor Rick Kriseman last fall described the redevelopment of the roughly two-acre tract at 1300 First Ave. North as “the most exciting and dynamic” project in recent history because it met several city needs, most notably for more affordable rental units.
Then COVID-19 hit, disrupting plans far and wide.
“We had to adjust our schedule somewhat, as has every other project in downtown St. Petersburg,” says Jay Miller, one of Edge Central’s principals and the head of J Square Developers, a St. Petersburg-based firm. “We’ve pushed back six to nine months from our original schedule, and we may have to adjust again,” Miller adds. “We just can’t say at this point, but we’ve got our optimistic hats on.” For its part, the police headquarters moved to a new 168,000-square-foot building at 1301 First Ave. North, across the street from the planned mixed-use project. That $78.5 million development was completed in March 2019. As cases of coronavirus have proliferated in Florida, hundreds of commercial real estate projects have either had to reconsider their underwriting or hit the proverbial pause button.