Commercial Real Estate, Capital, Insurance, Leasing & Management

Inside The Related Group’s retail strategy for Icon Central in downtown St. Petersburg, from the historic bank building to inline storefronts

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Alex Wright, senior director with Franklin Street in Tampa, is marketing the retail space for St. Petersburg's Icon Central.

Excerpted from Tampa Bay Business Journal story.

A long-blighted block of St. Petersburg’s Central Avenue is within months of becoming one of the most vibrant spots in the city — if a Miami developer’s bet on a historic building pays off.

The Related Group’s Icon Central, a 368-unit apartment building with street-level retail, welcomed its first residents in July. Icon Central wraps around a historic bank building, and Related envisions the space becoming a destination, home to a high-end restaurant with a rooftop space that’s magnetic enough to draw people not only from around the city, but all of Tampa Bay.

Before Related broke ground on Icon Central, the 800 block of Central Avenue was a dead zone in an otherwise thriving retail corridor. And while the apartments are thriving — Related vice president of development Jessica Melendez said the building is leasing about 30 units a month and is 45 percent leased. But it’s the storefront and activation of the long-vacant bank building that will bring more vibrancy and foot traffic to Central Avenue.

Apartment rents range from $1,760 for a studio to under $4,000 a month for a three-bedroom apartment.

“We’ve been able to connect the Edge district and the Arts district and fill in that block,” Melendez said.

Related has taken the bank building down to its bones, leaving behind only the exposed brick and original architectural details. Alex Wright, senior director with Franklin Street in Tampa, is marketing the retail space for Related. Melendez said the developer is in active negotiations with two restaurant groups for the bank building, and an announcement could be as imminent as 30 to 60 days away.

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