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Redevelopment gains momentum in Skyway Marina District

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Development of a long-neglected tract of land in south St. Petersburg is closer to reality as a Tampa developer closes on the first construction project in the Skyway Marina District.

Phillips Development and Realty LLC has secured its first construction loan, just over $11 million, for a 100,000-square foot self-storage facility on the former Home Depot site at U.S. Highway 19 and 30th Avenue South.

In 2007, Home Depot paid $6.5 million for the land, demolishing the Suncoast Resort Hotel on the site, but canceled plans to build a store when the 2008 Great Recession hit. Phillips purchased the property in February 2017 for $4.2 million.

Financing for the project is through Memphis-based Jernigan Capital, a real estate investment trust that offers equity capital to private developers, owners and operators of self-storage facilities.

Plans for the 9-acre parcel include a 300-unit, mixed-use development. Construction on the storage building is scheduled to begin in July, with the rest of the project beginning the second quarter of 2018.

“This closing sets us in a forward direction,” said PDR Managing Director, Donald Phillips. “The facility we have planned is just the start of something much larger, something we hope will add even greater character to the already influential neighborhood.”

Among the other improvements to the Skyway Marina District includes an art installation spanning the entire length of the building, facing I-275.

“This addition to the St. Petersburg art scene will be one of the largest in history and will set the tone for the District’s long-term plan,” Phillips officials said in a statement. Design for the “artscape” will be unveiled this summer.

John Collins, executive director of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, praised the combination of public art and business development in the Skyway Marina District.

“It is absolutely wonderful to welcome a building project to St. Petersburg that incorporates art from the initial planning and that, when complete, it will add a significant mural to our city’s artful landscape,” he said.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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