Protecting the Downtown National Register Historic District - No to "Bezu"
Your voice is needed – Send your message to city council!

March 1 Update - The City Council vote in December finding Bezu/Blue Lotus to be inconsistent with city downtown plans looks like it was a temporary stop to the proposed out of scale high-rise (read about the vote here). A new application has been given to the city adding faux balconies to the front of the garage, different windows at its base and a sidewalk awning. Otherwise, the building remains largely unchanged, including its 19 stories and 5 FAR.

Thanks go out to the many hundreds of you who spoke up and spent many hours at hearings. Your doing so made the difference but you are going to need to do so again!

What Happens Next - City Council, acting as the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency), will conduct a public hearing and vote April 4 on the most recently modified plan. The project cannot move forward unless the CRA finds the plan consistent with the Intown Redevelopment Plan (IRP). The IRP requires all new development to relate in building scale and mass with the surrounding neighborhood. City staff, like they have with every other Bezu plan, is  recommending approval - no surprise with Mayor Kriseman extolling the benefits of downtown high rise construction.

You can help - City Council, acting as the CRA, will again be called on to decide whether to approve the "new" application. This will occur at the April 4 public hearing. Your voice and your attendance at this hearing can again make the difference! Scroll to the bottom of the page to send your message to City Council.

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Background - Downtown St. Petersburg has a special sense of place, largely derived from its mix of old and new! The importance of downtown's inventory of historic buildings to the city's special feel was recognized In 2004 with the designation of the Downtown National Register Historic District. The district generally encompasses the area between Central & 5th Avenues North.

Fourth Ave. N., between the waterfront & the Coliseum is particularly rich in its collection and mix of historic resources. Facing this portion of 4th Ave. are seven designated local landmark buildings (one has been relocated) and an additional six buildings that have been identified as eligible for landmark designation. The 1925 Flori de Leon Apartments, where Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig stayed when the N.Y. Yankees called the 'Burg their spring home, is one of the designated landmarks on 4th Ave. 

"Bezu" started as a 21 story proposal that was rejected by City Council and subsequently modified to 19 stories. The high rise condo tower would be built atop a massive parking garage at the corner of 1st St. & 4th Ave. N. and immediately next to the historic Flori de Leon apartments (pictured above). The Bezu/Blue  Lotus is simply too much development on too small of a piece of property within the heart of the National Register district in an area surrounded by low intensity development.

Development proposals like Bezu/Blue Lotus clearly call on the city to determine if there are limits to the mass, height and intensity of downtown development and if the special feel of the Downtown National Register Historic District is to be protected. It is time to for the city to make clear that keeping our city special matters! Making your voice heard makes a difference - send your message NOW to city council. Tell them yes to preserving the 'Burg and to keeping St.  Petersburg special.

Pictured to the right is a scaled drawing of Bezu/Blue Lotus from the developer's most recent application (showing Bezu/Blue Lotus next to the Flori de Leon). Pictured to the right, below, is a city staff report image showing Bezu/Blue Lotus looming over its neighboring buildings (Flori de Leon in the foreground). The pictures are indeed worth a 1000 words; bezu/blue lotus would be out of scale and out of place!

It's easy to send your message to city council ( You can write your own or just click on the link below to sign your name to a simple, ready to use message. Thanks for doing your part! Ask your family and friends to do so too! And don't forget, since this is a new application you need to send a new message even if you have done so in the past!

Want to get more info about PTB's efforts to protect downtown's historic resources? Click here to go to the PTB First Block advocacy  page.


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