St. Pete’s Baywalk Gets New Owner–and Brighter Future?

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor Rumors about the high asking price for the onetime crown jewel of downtown St. Petersburg—the BayWalk complex—have come to an end, as developer Bill Edwards has officially become its new owner. CWCapital Asset Management put the [...]

Rumors about the high asking price for the onetime crown jewel of downtown St. Petersburg—the BayWalk complex—have come to an end, as developer Bill Edwards has officially become its new owner. CWCapital Asset Management put the property on the block for $8 million back in March, with Colliers International Tampa Bay in charge of marketing the property. According to the Florida Real Estate Journal, Colliers worked closely with the seller to evaluate 20 offers from around the country, also turning down local Joel Cantor, the brash developer of Signature Place, the 36-story condo tower in downtown St. Petersburg; Cantor’s offer was in the $2.5 million to $5 million range.

While Cantor considered the asking price to be exaggerated, it is but a mere fraction of the $20 million city taxpayers poured into the complex, topped by the $14 million invested by the former owner. The $8 million price was $300,000 less than the amount the city had to invest just to assemble the land before passing it on to the developers.

The 74,500-square-foot Baywalk shopping-and-entertainment complex opened in 2000 and at one time housed as many as 40 businesses; today, only six businesses, including a movie theater, remain open. The retail-and-restaurant complex and the movie theater were built by Sempler Co., while the city built the parking garage.

One block away from the agitated Beach Drive, BayWalk is within close proximity to numerous arts attractions, such as the Chihuly Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts and the new Dali Museum.

The amount for which the BayWalk traded for has not been disclosed, but buyer Bill Edwards did release plans to rename the complex as he strives to bring it back to its 2000 glory.