St. Pete's 'small-town' vibe threatened by another high-rise, some fear

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Downtown St. Petersburg has been undergoing an unprecedented transformation, with more new construction, it seems, all the time. Yet another high-rise is proposed, but some want to know where the development ends.

Some will tell you it should end when it interferes with the quality of life expected in downtown. With all that’s going on, the city is trying to strike a balance.

"So what you see happening in St. Pete is, people that like being around each other, that like being creative, that like the sunshine, that like all the things that we've got going on here are coming here," said J.P. DuBuque with St. Pete Economic Development.

The latest proposal would put a new high rise on 2nd St. North, just across from Sundial. It would be 25 stories, mixing both residential and commercial.

According to the website St. Pete Rising, nearly 2,500 residential units are either proposed or under construction in downtown St. Pete.

Neighborhood groups are watching closely.

“Many people are worried about the character of this wonderful city changing. You know, we are very friendly; almost a small-town environment. I think that some folks are concerned we’re going to lose that small-town environment with some out of control development and growth,” Mathew Weidner of the Downtown Neighborhood Association explained.

More people will mean more strain on infrastructure, like sewers which have been a problem.

Recently, the city began sending proposals for new development to neighborhood associations before considering them in council and development meetings - looking to strike a balance so downtown St. Pete doesn’t outgrow what makes it special.

In recent years, nearly 2,000 new residential units have been built in downtown St. Pete. Plans call for thousands more, so it will be interesting to see how it unfolds.