The city’s long-discussed plans to work with a developer to build a new municipal services center and redevelop the former MSC site have been halted.
“After a detailed review of the proposal, we have determined that it is not in the city’s best interest to continue with the previous process,” city spokeswoman Janelle Irwin Taylor said in a statement. “This decision will give us the opportunity to explore additional options, including a space needs assessment, and allow the city to fully maximize the value of the property, which has increased since the original plan.
The statement follows a public services and infrastructure committee on Thursday, where city administrator Rob Gerdes informed the committee that St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch had pressed the pause button to move on. on an agreement with Third Lake Partners or any other party.
“The mayor has decided not to make a selection in this process,” Gerdes said, explaining that all developers who originally submitted proposals related to the purchase and development of a new MSC have been notified.
“We are reviewing the process. I have asked the real estate department to review all potential sites that could be MSC candidates,” he said.
The Municipal Service Center at 1 4and St. N. is an 11-story building, constructed in 1925, that houses municipal offices such as Billing and Collections Administration, Code Compliance Assistance, Building Services, Economics and development, finance, real estate and property management. However, the current building requires expensive maintenance.
The city began evaluating plans for a new MSC in 2019 when it received an unsolicited bid from New York-based Property Markets group to build a new MSC and apartment complex on the city-owned parcels. on 2nd Avenue North, and the purchase of the existing MSC.
As this was an unsolicited offer, the city then solicited alternative proposals and received several qualified alternative proposals. After review and consideration, former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman selected the proposal from Third Lake Partners, who offered the highest bid at $12.5 million.
The most recent action on the deal came in December when City Council voted to defer the resolution on a term deal to a committee in the new year (2022).
At the PSI meeting, Gina Driscoll, a member of the Saint Petersburg City Council, recalled that around the same time as the December meeting, the city had learned of the 2n/a The District Court of Appeals would be located at Mirror Lake at the Sebring construction site.
Driscoll said this opens up a “great opportunity for the second DCA and MSC teams to collaborate” and “the two properties will complement each other”. She noted how the potential relationship between the DAC and the MSC should be included in all future discussions related to the MSC.
Gerdes said he also asked to engage with the engineering department on the best use study for a future MSC.
There is no set timeline for the discussion, and the topic has not yet appeared on any city calendars, a spokesperson said.
If the city had entered into a contract with the Tampa-based Third Lake Partners deal, as previously reported, Third Lake Partners would buy the current MSC for $12.5 million and build a new MSC at 429 Second Ave. North, across from City Hall. Third Lake Partners would retain the existing, deteriorating MSC building and renovate it to create Class B offices, or demolish it and build an entirely new development.
The city would lease the existing MSC from Third Lake Partners until the new 120,000+ square foot MSC is completed. Third Lake Partners would also purchase city-owned property at 461 Second Ave. N. to build the apartment complex.
A sale of the current MSC is essential, as the city will use the proceeds from the sale to reduce the cost of the new MSC building and allow the city to avoid approximately $37 million in deferred maintenance costs on the existing MSC, according to a 2018 estimate.
A new MSC building would also bring the municipal administration closer to the city hall.