ST. PETERSBURG — Radio Station WRXB, a constant in Tampa Bay's African-American community for more than four decades, offering a staple of R&B, gospel and community news, is no more.
The radio station, once black-owned, abruptly went off the air on Nov. 14.
It was a shock to Richard C. Guess, 67, host of the weekday show "Undignified Praise and Worship."
"I walked into the office this morning and everything was disassembled and in boxes," he wrote on Facebook. "No warning, no courtesy phone call, no thank you for your service. Nothing."...
12/07/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council readily approved another phase in funding for the $76 million Pier District on Thursday.
The funds included $18 million for work to complete what had been the original pier project and an additional $2.8 million for enhancements. The council, which had approved an initial $17.6 million in June, also authorized $800,000 in contingency funding.
Thursday's unanimous vote by the six of eight council members present puts the total construction price for this area of the Pier District — the pierhead to Spa Beach — at $39 million. It's the guaranteed maximum price from Skanska USA Building, the pier's construction manager, to cover the cost of building the area of the project before it was expanded into a 26-acre district....
12/05/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG —The pier will take a further step forward Thursday, when the City Council is expected to approve another step in funding for the now $76 million project.
Council members will be asked to vote on $18 million for remaining work to complete the original pier project, an area that stretches from the pier head and includes Spa Beach.
"This is the basically the last piece of the pie for the replacement of what was the pier," said city architect Raul Quintana, referring to the widely recognized inverted pyramid that was closed in 2013 and demolished two years later....
12/05/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A few months ago, St. Petersburg development administrator Alan DeLisle told City Council members the city could earn about $100,000 annually in naming rights from the yet-to-be constructed Pier District.
At least two council members seemed mildly perturbed, but DeLisle assured them that a consultant would be hired to help "identify areas of the Pier District that could be tactfully and tastefully named."...
11/30/17 Human Interest
PINELLAS PARK — Pinellas Hope, a homeless shelter for 250 adults, will mark its 10th anniversary at 4 p.m. today. Bishop Gregory Parkes of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg and government officials will attend the event at Pinellas Hope, which is at 5726 126th Ave. N, on the edge of Pinellas Park.
The camp, a program of Catholic Charities, opened on Dec. 1, 2007, on 10 acres provided by the diocese....
11/30/17 Human Interest
Daystar Life Center, which has been serving the poor and homeless from its downtown base for 35 years, is moving to Midtown.
Buoyed by the pledge of more than $1 million from a St. Pete Beach couple, the agency has purchased a former CSX property at 28th Street and 11th Avenue S to build larger quarters that are expected to be ready next fall.
"It's on a bus line," said Jane Trocheck Walker, Daystar executive director. ...
11/21/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — World and national tragedies are changing the city's approach to security for special events at North Straub Park.
With the approach of the holidays, concrete barricades have been erected at a section of the park's perimeter, where Fourth Avenue NE meets Beach Drive. The intersection offers a perfect view of the North Straub Park Christmas tree, which Mayor Rick Kriseman will light tonight. The waterfront park also will be a gathering spot for other holiday events, including Snowfest, visits with Santa and ice skating....
ST. PETERSBURG — An ordinance requiring certain city contractors to pay workers a minimum of $12 an hour was approved by City Council members Monday with some amendments.
The living wage ordinance applies to businesses with major city contracts providing goods and services of more than $500,000 and with more than 25 employees. The $12 an hour requirement includes the cost of health insurance....
11/20/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council on Monday approved a lease for the Manhattan Casino, a landmark building in the city's historic African-American business and entertainment community.
It was a controversial decision for some of the city's black residents, who see the choice of the Callaloo Group, considered outsiders, as an affront. They also questioned the selection process.
The Callaloo Group plans to open a Floribbean restaurant in the space most recently occupied by a failed soul food restaurant. The group consists of partners Ramon Hernandez, owner of Pipo's Cuban restaurants in Pinellas County, ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneer wide receiver Vincent Jackson and development director Mario Farias....
11/15/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A pocket of the Old Northeast and another in Kenwood are seeking to become local historic districts.
Their quests come just months after a previous section of the Old Northeast, a block of 10 homes, won City Council approval for what some believe could be a trend toward micro historic enclaves in the city's traditional neighborhoods.
The proposed 200 Block of 10th Avenue Northeast Historic District consists of 14 homes. To the west, the Kenwood Section — Seminole Park Local Historic District, covers 24 properties....
11/10/17 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — Coral Gables developer Altis Cardinal says the loft apartments the company is building on the edge of Historic Kenwood will offer a stylish, urban alternative to higher-cost living in the city's downtown.
The new apartments are part of an anticipated $100 million, 12-acre development emerging on a once moribund site between 34th and 31st streets and Fifth and Third avenues N....
ST. PETERSBURG — Gina Driscoll, president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, will succeed outgoing Council Member Karl Nurse in District 6.
Driscoll, 46, a first-time candidate backed by Nurse, defeated another political novice, 30-year-old Justin Bean.
10/31/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — As the pilings go in for the new pier, behind the scenes other developments are taking place in the buildup to its newly projected opening day in April 2019.
For now, two successful restaurant groups are vying for one coveted spot in the $76 million Pier District. The prime waterside site, in a former parking lot, is adjacent to 25 public boat slips and parking.
Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille, a popular Sanibel Island restaurant, with locations on Captiva Island and Fort Myers Beach, envisions St. Petersburg as its next location....
10/26/17 Economic Development
ST. PETERSBURG — The 56-year-old Disston Plaza shopping center is about to get a much-needed facelift and improved traffic access.
With the exception of a Publix supermarket, the shopping center's main anchor, all stores will remain open during construction. The old Publix will be demolished starting in November, and a new one will be built.
Publix spokesman Brian West said the new supermarket will open in late 2018 and will be about 4,000 square feet larger than the old one, which opened on July 20, 1961....
10/20/17 Real Estate
By WAVENEY ANN MOORE
Times Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for seniors.
For the 31 families in a section of the complex known as the Historic Village, the plans will bring major change. The one-story, craftsman-style buildings in which they live are to be demolished to make way for the new housing. Residents have already received vouchers to move, but some hope to return when the new senior apartments are built....