A recent article from the Tampa Bay Business Journal discusses how rental rates on Beach Drive in Downtown St.Petersburg have gone from $30 to $50 a square foot over the last few years. This steep increase follows high demand on the popular street that has little to no vacancy. According to the article the average retail rental price for the rest of Downtown St.Petersburg is $16.93, almost a third of the going price along Beach Drive. These high rental rates on Beach Drive must be good news for Bill Edwards, owner of the The Shops at St.Pete. Opening sometime this year, The Shops are one block west of Beach Drive and across the street from the Ovation condo tower. It makes sense to think that The Shops will benefit from the lack of available space on Beach Drive. Although I doubt The Shops will be able to fetch $50 sq/ft they will probably be well above the $16.93 sq/ft in the rest of downtown.
Spillover from Beach Drive to The Shops at St.Pete will be good news in helping develop a substantial retail corridor in Downtown St. Petersburg. Hopefully The Shops can attract national retails such as J.Crew and Luxottica to help bring other name brand stores downtown. High-end retail is one sector I think is missing in St.Petersburg. Pinellas County continues to leak retail sales to neighboring Tampa, but if a high-end retail corridor were to develop downtown we might see many 'Burgers staying in city rather than going across the bay.