ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - Rising commercial rent in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida is forcing some business owners out.
Two who spoke to FOX 13 News said they've recently gotten new landlords. Since then, their rents have doubled or tripled and they can't afford to stay.
The city said it is trying to help, but businesses say the help is coming too late.
Businesses, like Kalamazoo Olive Company, have been serving local customers out of their downtown St. Pete location or nearly a decade.
“The idea of local businesses create a fabric of the community," owner James Ryan said.
That fabric is now losing some key strands as multiple businesses, including Kalamazoo, planning to move out after being unable to afford skyrocketing rent prices.
“Last year, 2018 was our best year in business," Daddy Kool Records Manager Manny Kool said. "So then to be out the door in 2019 right after your best year is a little discouraging.”
Kool has been running Daddy Kool Records out of its downtown St. Pete location for more than a decade, but now the store is moving to a new location several blocks away after a new landlord increased the rent from $3,000 per month to $9,000 per month.
“Everything is rising," Kool said. "Rising, rising."
The city has created incentives for landlords.
Five $10,000 grants will be available to building owners who lease to local businesses. The is also trying to stop large businesses from combining multiple storefronts. Both initiatives are still awaiting an official vote.
“In doing that, it’s going to encourage small businesses," Kool said. "I do believe the city is on the right path.”
Both initiatives are part of an ordinance the city read last month. A second reading on the ordinance is scheduled for next month.