St. Pete is seeing a hotel boom, but one industry expert urges caution

The city of St. Petersburg is booming. The city's population has gone up 5% in five years and the median age of residents is dropping. 

All you have to do is look up at construction cranes to know big changes will continue. 

With all this growth comes more hotel rooms. Around 1,000 rooms are planned around downtown, including a tower in the 400 Block of Central Avenue and Marriott hoping to add a boutique hotel in St. Pete’s Edge District

Very few know the St. Pete hotel market like Lou Plasencia, a consultant who renovates and develops hotels in the region.

“This is a very walkable very likable very attractive market,” he said of St. Pete.

Though Plasencia cautions: The St. Pete market might learn a lesson from across the bay in Tampa. 

“At some point, it’s got to stop,” Plasencia said.

He says if too many rooms can’t be filled then rates won’t go up making it hard for development groups to turn a profit.

“It’s classic supply and demand model – if the demand is there the supply will be built, and right now the demand is there and supply is catching up to that demand.”

Which is fine for St. Pete, however, Tampa's hotel industry is seeing over-saturation.

“There are simply too many hotel rooms,” Plasencia said.

He says St. Pete needs more event and convention space, while Tampa currently has too many rooms.