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Pinellas County grants partial property tax exemption to five historic properties in St. Petersburg

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Pinellas commissioners on Tuesday unanimously granted waivers of some property taxes for ten years on five historic properties in St. Petersburg.

Officials estimate the county is foregoing $49,301 in property taxes during the ten years on all properties. St. Petersburg, which also is waiving property taxes earmarked for the city, would be giving up about $62,343 in ad valorem taxes over the ten years. The actual amount won’t be known until the Pinellas County Property Appraiser values the real estate.

“I love when I see items like this, saving our history for posterity,” Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni said.

The five properties:

  • 836 16th NE, known as the Blair House, valued at about $639,633 before construction.
  • 7401 Central Ave., the Crystal Bay Hotel (also known as the Sunset Hotel), valued at about $1.07 million before renovations.
  • 936 17th NE, valued at about $348,784 before improvements.
  • 656 First St. N, the Thomas Whitted house, valued at about $218,835 pre-construction.
  • 1224 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S, the Henry Bryan house, assessed before renovation at about $9,719.

Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1992 allowing property tax exemptions for up to 10 years on improvements to historic properties. St. Petersburg established procedures in 1994 for granting the exemption as a way to preserve the city’s historical resources. Pinellas County followed suit in 1996.

Under the rules, owners of historical properties who make improvements that are appropriate to the architecture and historical accuracy of the building. In return, they are allowed to deduct from their property taxes any increase that came from increasing the property value by improving it.

For example, the five properties had an estimated total value of about $2.3 million before being renovated. They paid about $49,740 annually in city and county property taxes. The city and county would still get those taxes.

But, officials estimate the value of the properties would go up as a result of the improvements. They expect that the owners of the properties would pay about $11,164 more each year in taxes because of the increased property value. It’s that amount — about $62,343 in city and county taxes — that the two governments would forego as a result of Tuesday’s vote. Of that, about $62,343 would have gone to St. Petersburg and the remaining $49,301 would have gone to the county.

This is not the first time the county has allowed property tax exemptions for historical properties. Before Tuesday’s vote, the county had approved such exemptions for 59 properties in St. Petersburg and one in St. Pete Beach.

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