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Restaurant to boost shrimpy parking

The owner of the Fourth Street Shrimp Store has bought two neighboring buildings to raze them and add 19 parking spaces.

By SHARON BOND

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 20, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- More construction is planned in the business zone on Fourth Street N south of 22nd Avenue.

But first there will be destruction at 1020 and 1030 Fourth St. N.

Two worn buildings that held an antiques shop and an antique rug store will fall to make way for additional parking for the Fourth Street Shrimp Store at 1006 Fourth St. N.

Vicki Loges, owner of the restaurant, bought the buildings and has filed plans with the city to demolish them. In their place, she plans to build a parking lot with 19 additional spaces, increasing her total of spaces to 54.

"It's an expensive proposition, but the neighborhood is congested because we draw a lot of people," Loges said. She thinks she is helping the neighborhood with the new lot since it will be used by cars that had been parking on residential streets.

Loges estimates her cost at $20,000 per parking space. The largest chunk of that is the combined $350,000 purchase price of the buildings. Loges estimated it will take $10,000 to raze the buildings, another $10,000 to build the parking lot and then $10,000 for landscaping. Other services and fees bring the total to $385,000, she said.

"As long as we have been here, parking has been an issue," Loges said. "We've been here for 15 years, and it's only gotten worse."

Loges said she did not know how long it would take for the added parking to pay for itself. But she said that every time the store had been remodeled or parking added, it had paid for itself.

Tearing down buildings for parking spaces would not be appropriate in every part of the city, said Julie Weston, the city's director of development services.

"The story would be completely different if you were talking about Central Avenue anywhere east of Eighth. Loss of a building at the property line would be like a gaping hole in someone's smile," Weston said. "It's a little different in the Fourth Street corridor."

Loges said both buildings were checked for historical significance, and none was found. Neither structure was up to code either, she said. Loges sees her new parking lot as clearing away derelict buildings.

"I think ultimately it will benefit Fourth Street, the neighborhood and the community. It creates a much more attractive area," she said.

Loges' plans must go before the Environmental Development Commission, so it will be more than a month before construction can begin. In the meantime, Loges hopes to put down sod and have temporary parking.

In the same area, the building at 918 Fourth St. N is undergoing an overhaul. Owner Felix D. Fudge will have his real estate offices on the second floor, which will have room for other offices. He plans retail shops on the ground floor.

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