With support from 63 percent of the city’s voters, St. Petersburg residents decisively voted Tuesday to allow the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club ownership to build a privately financed one-story parking garage behind the hotel with eight tennis courts on top.
“We are extremely pleased with the public’s support for the Vinoy referendum,” said Debra Feldman, with RLJ Lodging Trust, the hotel’s ownership group. “A new privately funded parking garage will help ensure that people who stay at, visit or work at the Vinoy can park without impacting surrounding neighborhoods.”
The referendum was supported by Mayor Rick Kriseman, the entire St. Petersburg City Council and a wide range of community and business groups such as St. Petersburg Preservation, the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association, the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, the St. Petersburg Downtown Neighborhood Association and the board of directors of the St. Petersburg Downtown Business Association.
RLJ Lodging Trust, the hotel’s ownership group, conducted an extensive public outreach campaign with local public relations firm B2 Communications to answer residents’ questions and educate voters on the proposed project. Communicating with more than 80 neighborhood associations, clubs and business groups, the outreach team received positive feedback as it focused on how the project would help ease parking issues in downtown and the Old Northeast neighborhood.
The new parking garage will add approximately 270 spaces to the Vinoy’s existing 509 spaces. Parking at the Vinoy is available for hotel guests, visitors and employees, along with the public.
Increased parking capacity is needed at the hotel because of the Vinoy’s popularity. The hotel has a high occupancy rate and hosts many major events such as conventions and weddings. And the number of visitors to the Vinoy will only increase when the hotel completes a new 200-seat restaurant, Paul’s Landing, overlooking the Vinoy Basin marina, along with a new spa and fitness center.
As a historic part of downtown St. Petersburg, approximately 2.4 acres of The Vinoy property, behind the hotel, are subject to deed restrictions and require approval from the City’s residents for construction.
The voter approval process was put in place during a 1984 agreement when The Vinoy helped complete the city’s waterfront park system by trading its waterfront property for some of the area immediately behind the hotel. Voters approved similar improvements to The Vinoy in referendums in 1997 and 2007.
About the Vinoy referendum:
The Vinoy’s redevelopment project tied to the November referendum includes the construction of a one-story parking garage with eight tennis courts on top on the 7th Avenue NE side of The Vinoy property in downtown St. Petersburg. For more information, visit www.VinoyImprovements.com.