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What's up? Here's the deal on 4th Street

A mysterious "What's Up?'' sign on a grassy lot hints at a new office complex coming to downtown St. Petersburg.

By SHARON L. BOND

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 4, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- What's Up?

A big black and white sign poses the simple question on a grassy lot at the corner of Fourth Street and Fourth Avenue N. Drivers have seen the minibillboard for days now.

Well, here's what's up: Two two-story office buildings to be built on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Fourth Avenue N by Tourtelot Brothers Inc. and partner Robert G. Castle in Seminole.

The two partners form the Last Chance Property Trust. Their buildings, to be built in the Italian Mediterranean style, will connect with the existing one-story building on Fourth Avenue N currently occupied by the Tourtelot Brothers Inc. real estate office. This building would be rehabilitated as part of the complex and given a new facade. The entire project will include 15,300 square feet of office space. William C. Tourtelot said that once construction starts the buildings could be finished in seven to nine months and appeal to professionals who do not want to be in high rises. Many do not, he said, because they have older clients who do not want to deal with parking in a garage and making their way to offices on high floors. Others need better visibility.

"You're not going to get that in a high rise," Tourtelot said, unless you are a big client such as a bank.

Some professionals also want to own their offices. Tourtelot said the largest of the two-story buildings would offer space for sale.

Tourtelot said his company hoped to tantalize people with a series of signs, beginning with "What's Up?" to make people wonder what was going on. Two more signs are on tap. Next comes "What's Going Up?" with a few details and a telephone number to call. The third and final sign would declare: "It's Going Up Right Here!" with more details and contacts.

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