City of St. Pete and developer spar over iconic block

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A downtown developer in Saint Petersburg is fighting with the city as he tries to redevelop a block that has become iconic to the Sunshine City.

Mayor Rick Kriseman is not happy over plans to turn the block of Central Avenue between 2nd and 3rd street into a mid-rise tower.

“As it stands now, it’s not something I’m in support of,” Kriseman said, arguing that’ it’s one of the most historic blocks in the city.

Tony Amico is the developer who owns the majority of the block.  He’s says, in no way would he start swinging a wrecking ball, but he does want  to build on top of what already exists.  Which includes his restaurant Caddys and the Jannus live concert venue.

“Nothing would have to go,” Amico said.  “We’d have to build over the top of it.”

Kriseman said Amico’s plans would still ruin the historic appearance.

“You may not be ruining it’s facade, but you’re ruining everything in its feel,” Kriseman said.

The block is not protected historically, but the city is blocking the project, by not turning over the alley way.  That makes development nearly impossible.

Amico says his proposal would generate $1.5 Million in tax revenue and says  the City of St. Pete needs to come to the table or pay up.

“Let’s work this out,” Amico said.   “Or have the city come up with a compensation package, where they can enjoy the historic district and I’m not going to be the one charged for giving it away.”