Sunday, March 6, 2016

Old VS New: The Battle over the Pheil Hotel

It is in everyone's best interest for the demolition and sale to proceed.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

You may not know where the Pheil Hotel is or anything about it. For some detail on the latest skirmish between the Kriseman administration and the group St.Pete Preservation here is some detail from an article by Waverly Ann Moore In the Tampa Times: Wrecking ball plan for Central Avenue block in St. Petersburg draws ire from preservationists.

In typical form the Riesman administration is moving forward at fairly good clip to get the buildings demolished and redeveloped.

Here is a quote from the St. Pete Preservation Web site:
The Central National Bank & Pheil Hotel are two beautiful historic buildings located at the corner of 4th St. & Central Ave. Since the early 1960's, their splendor has been hidden behind the "cheese grater" looking aluminum grill work. Today, demolition threatens. These beautiful historic buildings can be brought back to life by taking off the "cheese grater.

You can follow the progress in this series of articles from the Tampa Bay Times.



There are a lot of emotions on the preservationist's side as they see the historical architecture of downtown St. Pete fall in the wave of new redevelopment. The problem is the deal for this piece of property is a bit complicated as you can see in the article by Waverly Ann More: Is the end nigh for downtown St. Pete's cheese grater buildings?

There are many things that can be done to slow down or tie up this project, but I think it is in everyone's best interest for the demolition and sale to proceed. It would be a shame if the proposed developers were to decide to pass on the project not wanting to get into an extended battle over the property.

There could be some opportunity for incorporation of the old Bank Building and Pheil hotel features into the exterior and perhaps lobbies so the historical significance of the site is not lost.

The battle to preserve the city's heritage will continue but this is one where it is much more practical to let the downtown core continue to build out while the opportunity is there.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures:
Contributor: Bob Gualtieri for Pinellas County Sheriff
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