Consolo & Aquino To Remake The Shops At St. Pete

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The Florida redevelopment will create new downtown retail and dining destination, preeminent retail consultants say.

It takes a special combination of market and project to attract the interest and consulting services of the globally renowned team of Faith Hope Consolo and Joseph A. Aquino, the Chairman and Executive Vice President, respectively, of Prudential Douglas Elliman's Retail Group ā€“ and the two have found just that in The Shops at St. Pete, an exciting mixed-use development two blocks from the city's waterfront.

Located at First Avenue North and Second Street North, the 100,000-square-foot mixed-use complex will offer a unique combination of distinctive retail shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities when it opens in July 2013. The dramatic remodel and reconception of the Baywalk Midcore Shopping Center will consist of two levels of shops, dining and entertainment venues, as well as plazas, water features and design elements (including dramatic architectural lighting) to create a St. Petersburg landmark. It also will fill a true void in what is an astonishingly unsung market, said Ms. Consolo, known worldwide as the "Queen of Retail."

"St. Petersburg may be one of the most under-retailed markets in the United States,ā€ observed Ms. Consolo. "It has world-class cultural amenities, including the 2,031-seat Mahaffey Theater, which underwent a $20 million dollar renovation in 2005 and is home to the Florida Orchestra, as well as Broadway shows and concerts by performers including Cee Lo Green, Marc Anthony and Diana Ross. Exceptional cultural facilities such as the Salvador Dali Museum, The Museum of Fine Art, The Holocaust Museum, and the Dale Chihuly Collection, appeal to lovers of fine art, history and sports. And its spectacular marina shortly will become even more so with the completion of a tiara-shaped pier, 'The Lens', which reminds me strongly of the Sydney Opera House. Add in stunning new residences and restaurants, and it's clear that now is the time for the city to get the fine shopping it deserves. We've worked in markets around the world, and I've never seen greater opportunity than in St. Petersburg."

     In recent years, St. Petersburg has created a dynamic downtown scene with new hotels, restaurants, museums and nightlife. In addition, nearby Tampa Bay's selection to host the 2012 Republican National Convention will shine a global light on the growth of the region. Yet something was missing, pointed out project developer Bill Edwards, Chairman of The Edwards Group.

     "St. Petersburg has rapidly gained a national reputation as a premier entertainment and cultural destination, yet still requires a true downtown core project," added Mr. Edwards. "And no team has a greater worldwide reputation for rejuvenating downtown shopping districts than Faith Hope Consolo, Joseph Aquino and their colleagues at Prudential Douglas Elliman's Retail Group. Iā€™m excited to see them work the same magic they wielded on Madison Avenue and Rodeo Drive in downtown St. Petersburg."

According to Mr. Aquino, the team was immediately intrigued by The Shops' exceptional mix of location, market opportunity and Mr. Edwards' passion for his project.

"So many people still think of St. Petersburg as a haven for snowbirds, but they couldn't be more wrong," said Mr. Aquino. "This is a dynamic, growing city that also is attracting visitors from around the world. Now is the time for the world's great retailers to join a brand new project in a spectacularly beautiful location."

The City of St. Petersburg's affluence and growth potential is just now coming to light. Its $4.8 billion in aggregate household spending is greater than that of Tampa and Miami, the developer said. And Downtown provides the most potential of all: More than 205,000 people live within a ten-mile radius of The Shops. In addition, 65,736 people work full-time in the area, providing significant daytime sales potential. Add in 10 million visitors annually, who spend an average of $628 per trip, and The Shops is a success story waiting to happen. But all of these residents, workers and visitors must travel 20 to 30 miles to find the better shopping they want, noted Mr. Aquino.

The 61,288-square-foot Plaza Level will be topped by 37,788 square feet on the Terrace Level. The design will feature covered walkways to protect shoppers from inclement weather, while emulating grand European shopping streets in lighting, signage and scale. Grand stairways, elevators and escalators will connect the Plaza level to the Terrace, which will feature al fresco dining under shades, rotating art displays, and concierge services as well as lifestyle-oriented tenants. More than 30,000 square feet of retail tenants have already committed to The Shops at St. Petersburg.

"St. Petersburg has become a true luxury market, yet projects in the area lack the amenities such as spa services as well as the retailers that these shoppers have come to expect in their travels around the world," Ms. Consolo opined. "The Shops at St. Pete will feature these amenities, in addition to world-class retailers, in a distinctly European setting that will be easy and enjoyable to walk."

Remaking a downtown retail district is no new challenge for retail leasing's "Dynamic Duo" ā€“ Ms. Consolo and Mr. Aquino have brought national and international retailers to urban projects and storefronts around the country, including New York City's Times Square and Fifth Avenue, Chicago's Michigan Avenue and Oak Street, and Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

About Prudential Douglas Elliman's Retail Group

As the industry leader in retail leasing, investment sales and consulting, Prudential Douglas Elliman's Retail Group is renowned for its success on local, national and international platforms. Headed by Faith Hope Consolo, Chairman, the group's comprehensive scope extends to virtually every facet of the retail landscape; from celebrated Madison Avenue to Rodeo Drive, urban retail corridors worldwide, upscale super regional shopping malls, luxury specialty centers and hotel/casino retail. Over the years, the group has brought world-famous fashion designers and international brands to U.S. markets; and U.S brands abroad. Moreover, they are the exclusive representatives of prominent portfolios held by investment funds, public companies and private property owners; as well as consultants for business improvement districts and government agencies.

Recognized for its innovative marketing strategies, the Retail Group offers a wide range of services that are critical for today's economic environment, and provide customized, focused solutions on a client-by-client basis. With unparalleled access to a global network of businesses, owners and buyers, Prudential Douglas Elliman's Retail Group is the foremost retail real estate authority in the country. For more information, visit the Retail Group online or

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Linda Alexander
Alexander Marketing
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