There has been a lot of discussion recently surrounding St. Pete’s downtown waterfront, especially regarding the new St. Pete Pier and Pier District, which is set to begin construction next Wednesday June 28th. Because of the unique nature of St. Pete’s waterfront park system, there are protections in place to guarantee it remains an asset for generations. Specifically, there are certain restrictions and approvals required for new development along the waterfront.
One of the gems along our waterfront park system is the historic Vinoy Hotel, a pink Mediterranean Revival-style palace built in 1925 that has hosted celebrities such as Babe Ruth and Presidents such as Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.
As result of Downtown St. Pete’s continued rise in popularity, the Vinoy Hotel has recently begun a $50 million renovation to ensure it remains a modern resort. The project includes improvements to the spa and pool deck as well as the fitness center and the addition of a new public restaurant that will overlook the yacht basin. These renovations are already underway, but a final piece of the puzzle is needed to ensure the Vinoy remains competitive.
This is where it gets a little tricky; because of how St. Pete’s waterfront park system was created, portions of the Vinoy Hotel’s property face deed restrictions and changes to this property require voter approval.
The hotel is proposing an expansion to their parking garage that will create an additional 270 parking spaces. This expansion will be a one-story garage where the hotel’s eight tennis courts currently exist; the existing tennis courts will be relocated on top of the garage expansion.
It is important to note that the footprint of the Vinoy’s property won’t change and the increase in height will be less than that of a mature palm tree. And while these renovations are being privately funded, due to the location of the garage expansion, it falls under the city’s deed restrictions and must be approved in a citywide referendum. This referendum will coincide with the already planned St. Pete municipal elections coming up this November.
An expansion to the Vinoy’s parking garage will have a minimal impact on the property or its neighbors but a will allow the hotel to remain competitive when attracting conferences and events to St. Pete that draw tourists and locals alike. This private investment, coupled with the public investment in our new pier and pier uplands, will ensure that St. Pete’s waterfront park system and the surrounding properties continue moving in the right direction. The majority of the project is expected to be completed by December 2019.
For more information on The Vinoy Project referendum or to learn more about the proposed project, visit VinoyImprovements.com.