A deadlocked St. Petersburg City Council has left the fate of the First Block in the hands of developers, according to preservationists.
First Block — between Central Avenue and 1st Avenue North and between 2nd and 3rd streets — is home to 15 historic structures built between 1885-1937, the city’s first commercial buildings, constructed by the town’s most prominent movers and shakers, according to a report in Creative Loafing.
Despite a recommendation for a historic designation, council members voted 4-4 last week not to protect the historic low-rise block from potential demolition, according to Creative Loafing.
“The First Block is a vital link to St. Pete’s past and identity. We can put up new buildings anywhere, and we are, but the First Block is a core connection to our beginning era as a city," Council member Darden Rice, who voted affirmatively, told the newspaper. "It’s entirely possible to develop that block in ways compatible with historic designation that are dynamic, successful, and profitable while still protecting the values of our heritage.”