Live. ____. Play

13
Oct

Live. ____. Play

Where Am I Supposed to Work in Downtown St. Pete?

By George Meyer

While local developers congratulate themselves about the explosion of new residents morphing downtown St. Petersburg into a millennial/hipster haven, they may overlook an intriguing question:

Where do all those hipsters want to work?

The short answer is: they want to work in that same downtown.

For a longer answer, take an expedition into the jungle of research about Millennials (if you want it closer-up, gird your loins for a Google search of Millennial Market Preferences).

You’ve probably read a lot about preferences of 24-34-year-old workers, a.k.a. the workers of the future, yes, That would be millennials, or the 80-million or so folks born between 1980 and 1994.

Millennials’ preferences, like them or not, influence markets, cityscapes and socio-economic groupings all over, first in so-called “knowledge capitals,” then in “American middleweights,” of which Tampa Bay is a part. St. Petersburg forms an important subgroup of this middleweight area: while Jeff Vinik’s ambitions and Bill Gates’ money drive changes in downtown Tampa, individual investors push St. Pete’s downtown. Put another way, there’s more room for independents and sub-billionaires to profit in St. Pete.

St. Pete’s upward growth clings more closely to millennial values than Vinikesque trickle down development. The signs?

Live!

The most measurable Gen Y preferences in the group-approved Live-Work-Play ethos come from the Live category. Putting off maturity as long as they can, Gen Y’ers are choosing smaller living space, renting over buying, and picking urban spaces over the ‘burbs.

Naturally, builders react: nearly 1,700 new apartments or condominiums are under construction in South Pinellas alone, and city officials say about 1,000 or so are planned.

“The takeaway is that the submarket added almost 2,000 units since 2014 and yet the vacancy rate came down from over 7 percent to just over 4 percent today,” according to Linwood Gilbert of Urban Realty Solutions in Tampa. “Huge demand. HUGE!”

That low vacancy rate has also caused average monthly rents to push well into four figures.

Play!

Also popping up are new bars, restaurants, galleries, breweries and even distilleries to provide the “Play” facilities for the Live Work Play formula.

The whole idea of Live-Work-Play, in fact, is premised on the notion that integrating those life activities makes them more harmonious and productive.

Work?

Meanwhile, Peter Fischbach asks, “will downtown become a good-to-live/play environment characterized by an outward commute Monday through Friday?”

There are growing live and play spaces. There are no new work spaces. How come?

Basic Urban Arithmetic

“Demand for office space,” said Fischbach, “while steady, is not overwhelming. I think that rental rates for Class A properties in downtown St. Pete need to be north of $30 per foot, maybe even $35 per foot to interest office developers. Right now rates are drifting in the mid to high $20 range.”

City officials see no new office development currently in the works, which underlines the simple but stern arithmetic.

Friends at the building department in St. Pete say that three are no plans that they know of for construction of new office space.

That bottom line everyone touts doesn’t just mean the smart money follows the leaders. It means that keeping abreast of marketplace changes can pay off for decision-makers. And in this case, if tomorrow’s workers demand Live-Play-Work in downtown space , which already has residences (Live) and restaurants/museums/watering holes (Play), then it only makes sense to offer them creative and production space (Work), too. But when?

 

George Meyer is a published author, former journalism professor and residential real estate developer in Tampa.

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Client Testimonials

My company is new and growing fast. We need more space. I thought it would be easy. Look at LoopNet, check out a few locations and sign up.

I wish.

LoopNet is full of jargon and misdirection. You find listings that are no longer available. ("Oh, we just leased that. But I have another space just like it that I can show you.") Bait and switch BS.

After following leads around in circles, I was super frustrated with the process and getting closer to a space crises at the same time. I clicked Peter's site in Google. I really wish I'd done that in the beginning.

Honestly, I have been in business for my entire adult, but I'd never heard of a tenant rep, someone who specializes in helping commercial tenants like me find and lease space. It is an incredibly valuable service. Just knowing about it is worth a semester in business school.

Peter showed some great properties. He listened, came to understand my company and showed space that was relevant and possible. Each new space inspired me to look more. I got new ideas.

Finally when we decided on a great location in downtown St. Pete. I liked everything about it. But finding the right space was just the beginning.

My company is in the medical field and has many special requirements: unique electrical hookups, plumbing for oxigen tanks, and a one-of-a-kind floor plan.

I admit I was daunted by the lease and all the requirements of my company. But Peter stepped up and negotiated a great deal with my new landlord which included a generous build-out allowance.

There are not enough adjectives to describe how much Peter has done for my company. If you are looking to lease commercial space, do yourself a favor and call Peter. You will be real happy that you did.

Unbelievably, I paid nothing for his service. My new landlord took care of that.

Fred Palmer, CEO

Stemedix

From first meeting Peter, and throughout the office suite search process to the negotiations and execution of my office lease, Peter provided excellent communication and professional service. He took the time to really understand my office space needs and was very resourceful in providing timely, valuable information and sage advice. He helped make the whole process a pleasant and friendly one.

I appreciate everything Peter did for me and I highly recommend him to anyone searching for commercial real estate consultations and services.

Jerry Albrecht
Attorney at Law

We have known and done business with Peter for some 15 years and he has acted for our group of companies in several office, commercial and industrial leases.

He is a seasoned professional, great to work with, always on on top of whats going on in the market and acting not only as a broker but ongoing advisor.

He is a great negotiator and I always feel like we got the best deal possible when we close.

Finally he is a nice guy and like ourselves I'm sure has developed hundreds of other great relationships and friendships in the business.

Carl Dilley
President
Island Capital Management, LLC.

I have known Peter Fischbach for approximateloy 20 years both as a friend and professionally.

I have found his knowledge of Real Estate, marketing and business sense extraordinary.

He has a great knowledge of Architecture and recycling of old buildings for new uses.

I would recommend him for any professional Real Estate consultaions and related services.

Peter Goldhammer, Architect
Florida #0006567

I have known and worked with Peter for many years, and would not hesitate to recommend him for any real estate service.

Peter is very knowledgeable in all aspects of commercial real estate, but is particularly adept at negotiating leases and contracts.

Linwood Gilbert, MAI

President at Urban Realty Solutions

If you are looking to lease a commercial or business space Peter Fischbach is your man. We've worked with him for years and could not be more pleased. 

He is friendly, extremely well-versed in all of the services he offers, and has an unparalleled understanding of real estate in general and the idiosyncrasies of the local Tampa Bay market. 

The landlord might not be happy with the rent, amenities, and contract terms he will negotiate for you, but you and your company will.

Jake Braun
Marco Polo
Lead Developer
CIO