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Starbucks to open at Ninth Ave. and Fourth

Demolition has begin on an old gas station. In addition to the popular coffee shop, plans call for two other tenants.

By SHARON L. BOND, Neighborhood Times Business Editor
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 2, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG -- A Starbucks is coming to Fourth Street N, a few blocks from downtown.

Land is being cleared at 900 Fourth St. N for a multi-tenant building where Starbucks will be the main draw.

"It will be an Art Deco building," said Felix D. Fudge, who bought the site for $180,000 about eight months ago. The site was the location for an Independent Taxi stand and once was a Texaco station, Fudge said. He also purchased a nearby house for $45,000. Demolition started last week.

Fudge said he has signed a lease with Starbucks, the popular Seattle coffee company. It has opened a number of its shops in the St. Petersburg area in the past two years, including one at BayWalk.

The building will have 3,000 square feet, which will be room for three tenants. Starbucks will take about half of the space. The other space has not yet been leased.

Fudge said Starbucks probably will be open by September and feature outside seating. But Starbucks representatives think the opening could be a few months later than that.

"Why would someone want to sit outside on Fourth Street N?" he asked, anticipating such a question about one of the city's busiest streets.

"Some of the busiest streets in all of Europe are where cafe seating was started, in Paris."

The new building plus renovation of many others will "really get what used to be the worst section of Fourth Street looking pretty good," Fudge said.

He is also renovating the two-story building at 918 Fourth St. N, the one that stands out with its deep amethyst and mauve paint job with the diamond markings. He has his Bridgeport South Realty Advisors Inc. in part of the top floor and plans to lease the rest out for offices as well as offer the bottom floor to retailers. Workers have recently begun to install glass in the bottom floor.

The current restoration of Fourth Street N south of 22nd Avenue started with improvements done by businesses such as Hess Fine Art Gallery and Lasting Impressions Home Gallery, Fudge said.

The Fourth Street Shrimp Store was renovated, and two old buildings next door to it were torn down and paved for more parking.

CVS demolished the old Watson's Food Town (some of whose customers used the grocery as an outside bar and urinal) and built one of its drugstores.

Northeast Animal Hospital, owned by Dr. Mark Scribano, rebuilt its facility, more than doubling its space.

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