'The most valuable block in the City of St. Petersburg' - FOX 13 News

'The most valuable block in the City of St. Petersburg'

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One way or another, the Tropicana block in downtown St. Petersburg is in play. Not the baseball stadium -- but the block just off the downtown waterfront named after a little four-story office structure called the Tropicana building.

Local businessman Bill Edwards bought the property several weeks ago.

"He wanted to try to help stimulate something to go forward," former mayor Rick Baker explained.

Baker is now president of the Edwards Group, but his interest in this particular piece of dirt goes way back.

"I've always said...that I think that's the most valuable block in the City of St. Petersburg," Baker told FOX 13 News.

The land is zoned Urban Core, which translates into very "dense" development. The previous owner presented a site plan years ago that showed twin towers, one for a hotel, the other for offices or condominiums, with ground floor retail.

Neither Baker nor Edwards would disclose their plans, although Baker agreed "Anything you can imagine that you would like to have in downtown, the potential would be on that block."

Reliable sources told FOX 13 News Edwards has already sold the property. Baker said Edwards still owns it.

Friday, Edwards witnessed the opening of the first store in Sundial, the former BayWalk shopping plaza Edwards spent three years redeveloping.

Asked whether the Tropicana property required as much contemplation, Edwards said "I've thought about it. I thought about it before I bought it so I can't speak to it right now, but you'll be hearing news in the future real soon."

Most of the land was cleared years ago, leaving the Tropicana building and a lot of surface parking. The remaining structure dates back to 1910 but is not a designated historical landmark.

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