ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — “I just want to invite you to our charming and beautiful, historic 8th Avenue,” said longtime Pass a Grille resident Bev Jackson.
It’s a brick-paved road in the middle of Pass a Grille, a popular destination in St. Pete Beach.
“What we’ve done is try to maintain our character through here and we have,” said Jackson.
This short main strain is delivering a tall order; drawing in thousands of tourists from near and far.
The neighbors here are very protective of their small community.
“The challenge is trying to blend the new and the old in the community. Of course, there’s going to be progress. Of course, we’re going to build and things are going to be torn down,” said Jackson.
However, about a month ago when the Historic Preservation Board posted a notice about a possible building being demolished on 8th Avenue, some residents like Jackson were surprised by the potential development to go in its place: The Holloway Hotel.
“We’re thinking a hotel, no big deal. We’re all in favor of redevelopment and moving forward. That’s a fact of life. And then we saw the plans for this,” said Jackson.
The plan is to tear down an old, pink, apartment building on the corner of 8th Avenue and Pass a Grille Way and build a hotel facing the water.
“The most important thing was the shock that we felt when we saw the size of the building, the size, mass, and scale and so we were shocked,” said Jackson.
Jackson and others created a non-profit group called Friends of Pass a Grille to help fight to persevere 8th Avenue.
She believes the current development plans for this project show the hotel being built too big.
Even though technically the project dimensions are within city code limits, she says the size won’t be true to the look and feel of 8th Avenue.
“Again it’s beautiful. Development is great, but let’s work to keep the mass and scale in keeping with Pass a Grille and the charm and community that we have here,” said Jackson.
There are other people in the community who are in favor of this project and support the change.
According to city documents, the developer has pledged to respect the historical use and design with the new building and pay tribute to the old building with its features.
Jackson hopes everyone involved can come to an agreement soon.
“There’s ways to develop this that would absolutely be beautiful, meet their needs, meet the community needs, and we could all move forward and live in harmony,” she said.
ABC Action News reached out to members of the development team for comment and are still waiting for a response.