Developers eye St. Pete over other cities crippled by COVID-19

The growth St. Petersburg was seeing before the pandemic struck may have slowed but has, by no means, stopped according to the city’s development administrator.

In fact, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing big businesses to take a second look at the Tampa Bay region, as opposed to other areas crippled by the virus. 

“We are seeing the opposite of what a lot of people would have expected,” said Alan DeLisle, St. Pete’s development administrator.

2020 has brought three new apartment developments to the city’s Edge District. Hilton will soon be opening Tru hotel. At least two other “block-sized” developments are still being planned.

In the 1600 Block of Central Avenue, businesses plagued by parking pains due to construction have said they are ready for the payoff of new foot traffic.

“These barricades are supposed to go away in the next week or so and we are hoping that brings us some business,” said November Grubbs, manager of AWAPUHI by Leafy Greens Café.

DeLisle says studies that show the virus doesn’t fare as well in warmer weather have more people looking to Florida, despite other reports that say the warm weather makes no difference.

“We are seeing a lot of companies looking at St. Pete for relocation or a satellite office,” he said.

The forecast for Tampa Bay growth shows hope, but DeLisle said keeping COVID-19 cases down offers the best economic picture.