TradeWinds listens to the community, makes meaningful adjustments to expansion plan

Tradewinds entry
They are key to making sure the community gets to weigh in on significant projects.

Many property owners and developers don’t take the time to listen to neighbors who will be affected by a new project or expansion.

So, when you hear about what the owners of the TradeWinds Island Grand Beach Resort are doing in St. Pete Beach, it’s worth taking note.

The resort is working on plans for an expansion that would include 650 new hotel rooms, more retail, a new ballroom, and other features. In total, the project is expected to bring about 300 new jobs and more than $19 million in new annual tax revenue to St. Pete Beach.

When the hotel’s owners started community outreach to get feedback on the expansion plans, it started with the immediate neighbors and then broadened its efforts from there. First, TradeWinds team members visited local businesses and hosted several meetings with condo and homeowner associations of nearby properties.

Then, in preparation for a wider community meeting in mid-July, more than 4,500 letters were sent to St. Pete Beach residents and neighbors — accounting for nearly half the population of the city. Also, the owners placed local advertising and worked with reporters from news outlets who did stories on the meeting. During the July meeting, many residents showed they have an open mind about the project and seemed appreciative of the development team’s efforts to listen to concerns.

Anyone who has been doing this for a while can tell you that planning and holding these meetings isn’t simple or easy. In fact, they can be contentious. But they are key to making sure the community gets to weigh in on significant projects.

But this isn’t just about having some meetings and checking a box. It’s about what’s done in response to the feedback you get.

In this case, the response has been significant. After talking to immediate neighbors, the TradeWinds design team redesigned the planned garage to include screens and greenery to beautify the area and stop headlights from serving as a distraction to neighbors. They also lowered the heights of some of the planned landscaping to improve views for neighbors.

Then, as outreach continued, the team took meaningful steps to address concerns about flooding and traffic.

State-of-the-art stormwater drainage systems are part of the new plans. In fact, this sophisticated system will also address existing flooding concerns nearby along Gulf Boulevard — a long-standing community worry.

And speaking of Gulf Boulevard, the plan includes an interior circulation road designed to take cars off — and keep cars off — the main road as they enter TradeWinds property. The plans also include widening the sidewalk to 10 feet, which means that stretch of a very busy section of Gulf Boulevard will now be much safer for pedestrians.

Not all property owners and developers are built the same, and many of them would not have engaged the community as extensively as the TradeWinds leadership has. Maybe they should.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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