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Proposed Commerce Park project would bring jobs, housing to south St. Pete

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Four new businesses, including a solar energy and wind farm consultant, could come to south St. Petersburg under a proposal scheduled to go before the City Council this week.

The Commerce Park project would also bring at least 65 new jobs and housing to the south St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area. A majority of those jobs — 34 — would be set aside for applicants who have low to moderate incomes, and at least 17 of those would have to be filled by CRA residents.

The proposal has the support of at least one St. Petersburg council member.

“Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go,” said Karl Nurse.

Nurse wanted the project to go out to bid at least two years before it was released last year.

“I have never gotten used to the pace of government,” Nurse said. “We just need to get started.”

The proposal, which was presented to the CRA citizens’ advisory board Tuesday, involves about 14.1 acres of city-owned property generally located between 22nd and 26th streets S and I-275 and 6th Avenue S.

Under the proposal, MCSP Holdings dba Euro Cycles of St. Petersburg would agree to lease a portion of the Commerce Park property for 33 years with an option to buy the land for $492,446. Euro Cycles would agree to build a motorcycle dealership for high-end bikes like Ducati and BMW and repair shop much like its Tampa location. The dealership would be at least 20,000 square feet.

The development of the remainder of the Commerce Park property would come from three companies working together: EMP Industries, a St. Petersburg-based marine manufacturing company; Attaj Energy, a Spanish company that describes itself in part as a consultant on energy projects including wind and solar installations; and Accmar Equipment Co., a Miami-based marine manufacturing company.

Those companies have proposed a mixed-use project that includes retail, industrial and/or office space, and housing. They would sign a 50-year lease. They would also commit to creating at least 50 new jobs, which would include a minimum of 26 jobs for low- to moderate-income residents. At least 13 of those would go to CRA residents. They would have an option to buy the land for about $1.6 million.

Neither Euro Cycles nor the EMP group would be able to buy the land outright. They would have to prove that they had met the job-creation and other requirements of the deal and that the company would last. That could come after year three or year 10 of the proposed deal.

Alan DeLisle, the city’s development administrator, cautioned that even if the St. Petersburg council approves the proposal Thursday, nothing will happen anytime soon.

“This is not going to happen tomorrow,” he said.

The companies would have to go through due diligence procedures before they could start building. Also, zoning and other changes would have to be made. All that takes time, DeLisle said, so St. Petersburg has given them two years to break ground.

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