Kriseman proposes compromise for Central District businesses

- Keep St. Pete local is a rallying cry among businesses and shoppers in the city, and now there could be big changes to what type of businesses are built on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.

The mayor wants to preserve the local, mom-and-pop kind of stores, but that's raising concern among some in the business community.

Take a scroll down Central Avenue in St. Petersburg and you will see crane after crane after crane. The area is exploding with growth - but with that smaller businesses that have been fixtures of central for years are being forced out.

Mayor Rick Kriseman has heard the stories of these business owners and is planning a city ordinance that would control what type of business can go on Beach Drive and Central Avenue to up to 31st Street.

"I love what's happening with St. Pete and the growth, but I don't' want to lose what makes us special and what makes our city different from everywhere else," Mayor Kriseman said.

Under the ordinance, if a developer wants to put a Chipotle or Starbucks on Central, they would have to get special permission from the city to do so. The extra step is not sitting well with developers.

As a small business owner himself, Jon La Budde said he understands where the mayor is coming from.  He's developing property on central and wants to have a mixture of both local and chain businesses. He's worried limitations on what businesses can come to central will put limitations on the area’s growth.

"You just can’t have a blanket law that says no chains or corporate America," La Budde said.

The mayor says he plans on working with small business leaders and developers to develop a plan that strikes a perfect balance, preserving St. Pete's uniqueness.  Kriseman said he wants to hold several meetings with business leaders to talk more about this in the coming days.

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