Article Courtesy of The Tampa Bay Times
By Susan Taylor Martin
Published August 31, 2018
ST. PETERSBURG — Plans for a 25-story condo tower in downtown St. Petersburg
caused considerable excitement when they were revealed in early August. To
be built on Second Street, N, the 100-unit tower would be catty-corner to
the Sundial shopping and entertainment center.
There is just one problem. The Tampa company that owns
part of the land where the tower would go says it knew nothing about it and
doesn’t want it.
"We found out about it when we read it in the paper," said George Glover,
chairman and CEO of the BayStar Hotel Group. The company filed an objection
to the tower on Aug. 10, the deadline for an appeal, and that stopped it —
at least temporarily.
An application for "streamlined site plan approval" of the $40 million
project, which would have allowed it to proceed without a public hearing,
was submitted in July by Loan Ranger Acquisitions and Ping Pong Partners.
Loan Ranger is connected to Sundial developer Bill Edwards. Ping Pong
Partners was formed by Steve Gianfilippo, who owns the Cordova Inn and
Station House in St. Petersburg and is the new co-owner of a building that
houses Tampa’s Mise en Place restaurant.
The tower project would sit on two parcels of land. One
belongs to Loan Ranger while the application lists Ping Pong as owner of the
other parcel, now home to a Fit2Run shoe store. But records show that parcel
is owned by an affiliate of BayStar, which leases out the shoe store space
and operates the adjacent Indigo Hotel.
A 25-story mixed-use tower with 100 residences, upper
right, is planned near the Sundial entertainment and shopping
complex in downtown St. Petersburg.
"It is accurate that we own part of the land, and we did oppose that
(tower)," Glover said Friday, adding it was a "little surprising" to read
about the plans since "we haven’t spoken to the developer.’’
Attorney R. Donald Mastry, agent for the project, said he was unaware at the
time of application that Ping Pong Partners did not own the land. He said,
however, that he thought it had an agreement to buy it from BayStar.
On Monday afternoon, Gianfilippo said, "The story is incorrect and we need
to discuss it with our attorneys before we have any further comment." He
declined to elaborate.
From the city’s perspective, the project is on hold.
Since the owner of the Fit2Run property did not authorize "the applicant to
submit the site plan application, the application has been deemed incomplete
and cannot move forward at this time," Corey Malyszka, the city’s urban
design and development coordinator, said in an email.