The expansion being proposed by NextGeneration TradeWinds promises appropriately upscale, well-designed rooms, conference space and retail shops along St. Pete Beach.
But the expansion will deliver much more beyond the borders of the TradeWinds Island Resort on St. Pete Beach. The city of St. Pete Beach and the Tampa Bay area will reap benefits from this work for years to come.
The benefits to the local community begin with the fact that this is a privately funded project, meaning no taxpayer dollars will be spent on the expansion. Estimates are that, when completed, the expansion will bring about $20 million in new annual tax revenue to the community.
This is a modestly sized expansion — the proposed addition is 37% below the allowable permitted additional guest room capacity of the site. And when it’s complete, the people of St. Pete Beach and the surrounding areas stand to make close to $20 million a year.
There is no timeline for construction of the project yet, but when it starts, it will create approximately 500 construction-related jobs. And when the project is done, there will also be 300 new permanent jobs created.
The community benefits go beyond tax revenue and job creation. The TradeWinds is proposing a beautiful new 30-foot-wide direct beach access as part of the project.
TradeWinds owners also will be addressing traffic and flooding concerns on Gulf Boulevard in the immediate area — again, at their own cost.
Parking garages will be built to ensure there are no backups for people looking to park, and an interior roadway will keep guests of the TradeWinds off Gulf Boulevard. The owners are reducing the number of entrances and exits onto busy Gulf Boulevard from nine down to four. And they are investing in a multimillion-dollar stormwater system to address the occasional flooding issues on Gulf Boulevard.
The TradeWinds group did not come up with all of this in a vacuum: They have crafted a plan largely informed by public opinion and feedback. After public feedback, the TradeWinds designers took the plans for its parking garages back to the drawing board and included more screens and greenery to beautify the structures and minimize bright headlight glare. They also lowered some of the landscaping to address concerns from neighbors about their water views.
There are plenty of projects going up in the Tampa Bay area and around Florida that were conceived and executed without any thought on the community impacts, but this project is built from the ground up to be a benefit to the community.