About 60 people gathered last week at Gator Jim’s Tackle, one of the latest businesses to open in the Skyway Marina District (SMD) of South St. Petersburg, to celebrate new investments that are leading the vanguard in the area’s long-awaited revitalization.
“I’m proud to say that the SMD is now a force in the city of St. Petersburg,” district Executive Director Keri Melshenker said Thursday, April 20. “The public’s voice has been heard.”
She was referring to the neighborhood groups, businesses and city officials who have been working steadily since 2010 to bring attention to the area, which comprises a 1.3-mile stretch of 34th Street South from 30th Ave S. to 54th Ave S.
Their efforts, she noted, have been paying off. Some highlights:
— The largest project, made public in November, is a $70 million mixed-use development by Tampa-based Phillips Development and Realty that includes 250 apartments and space for two restaurants on a nine-acre lot at the intersection with 30th Street S.
— Last month, the Getaway Restaurant Group, which has an eatery on Gandy Boulevard, unveiled plans for a $2.2 million waterfront restaurant at Maximo Marina at 4801 37th S. The marina itself is in the midst of a $20 million renovation, with the removal of covered docks and the construction of new seawalls and floating slips already under way.
— Convenience store Wawa has also announced plans to open shop at the former Bank of America site at 3637 34th Street S.
— In addition to Gator Jim’s Tackle at 3301 Pinellas Point Drive S., which held its grand opening on March 25, recent newcomers include Dr. Elinor Miranda – Here We Grow Pediatrics at 3801 34th Street S. and My Spine and Joint at 4831 34th St S. Wendy’s, Burger King and Publix have demolished their old buildings in the district and built new ones.
“It’s happening alright,” Tom Ando, president of the civic association of Broadwater, one of the neighborhoods bordering the district, said of the successful effort to attract new businesses. “I’m very happy.”