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Birchwood Inn progressing in downtown St Petersburg

Birchwood Inn coming out of Grayl's in downtown St Petersburg

Birchwood Inn progress



Construction is continuing on the Birchwood Inn in downtown St. Petersburg. No, it won’t be done by November 15th, or even by Christmas. Predictions now are for a 2013 completion.



See previous posts for more information and earlier photos:

From Grayl’s to The Birchwood Inn  5-14-12

Rooftop bars – Birchwood Inn in St Petersburg  7-16-12

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Perfect afternoon in St Petersburg

This weekend was perfect weather here in St Pete. All the tables at Tryst, right outside our office, were filled, as were their couches and lounge chairs. People were walking their dogs, stopping for yogurt or gelato, carrying totes of goodies from the Saturday Morning Market.

Not too hot – not too cold. Just right for enjoying the outdoors.


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Downtown St Pete: From Grayl’s to The Birchwood Inn

Grayls Hotel on Beach Drive in downtown St Petersburg is renovating

Grayl's Hotel downtown St Pete


Downtown St Pete is changing daily. One such change is the renovation of Grayl’s Hotel by Chuck Prather to The Birchwood Inn. Renovation hardly describes the changes as this photo shows – not even all of the shell remains.

Intending to retain the original style as well as the exterior walls, Prather plans to add a new fourth floor with 8,000 sq ft for events and meetings and a fifth floor open-air bar and lounge with a rooftop deck. The goal is to finish and reopen on November 15th – if they do, I’ll plan to have my birthday dinner there!

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A rare foggy morning in downtown St Pete

We’re accustomed to consistent sunny mornings in St Pete. The colors and patterns of the sunrise vary, but coming down Beach Drive after the sun is up is just about the same every day.

This was a morning not long ago when fog enveloped the tops of the buildings. I wonder if people living on the top floors thought they were living in the clouds.


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Mahaffey Theater in St Pete

The Mahaffey Theater has been rejuvenated. The attached photo shows the wonderful view from the lobby. A signature scent greets you as you enter. It’s cleaner, crisper, more welcoming. Bill Edwards has done a great job since taking over its management in September.

Best of all, the programming is significantly improved. There’s more variety to appeal to more people. There are early afternoon events for those who don’t want to go out at night. Lots of people go out for lunch and then walk over to the Mahaffey for a performance.


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Dog friendly downtown St Pete has a Doggie Menu

Doggie Menu at Cassis Restaurant on Beach Drive

Doggie Menu at Cassis


Downtown St Pete is very dog friendly and most of the shops and restaurants along Beach Drive have water bowls and/or treats outside the door for their pet friends. Many of the restaurants allow – and encourage – pets at their outside tables. Cassis has raised the bar for pets and offers a Doggie Menu to anyone bringing their dog. And yes, the pet owners DO order from the menu for their pets.

Entrees include a Hot Diggity Dog, Mutt Loaf, Pup Monsieur (after all, Cassis IS a French restaurant), Bow Wow Chicken, Pooched Egg and Bon Appetit. Treats include the Arrf el Tower, the Bark de Triumph, and a glass of puppely.

It started with one water bowl and now everyone has them. One restaurant starting bringing water bowls to the tables with a pet and now several do. Will Cassis start a trend? Will we see more Doggie Menus at Beach Drive restaurants? Stay tuned.

It’s well known that Beach Drive in downtown St Pete is very pedestrian friendly. It’s also very dog friendly.

Want to know which condos are dog friendly? Ask The Simms Team at ALVA International, 238 Beach Drive NE in downtown St Petersburg.

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International baseball coming to downtown St Petersburg

Al Lang Field in downtown St Pete

Al Lang Field in downtown St Pete

International baseball is coming to downtown St Petersburg Florida in 2011. National teams from Australia, Canada and the Netherlands will compete  at  Al Lang Field (now Progress Energy Park). This is great news because open air Al Lang Field is a great place to watch baseball, with a great view of Tampa Bay beyond the field. Spring training here was a great event and it’s been sad to see it empty since The Rays moved their spring training south. Mayor Foster said that these teams – and he’s in negotiations with a team from South Korea as well – will train at the Walter Fuller Baseball Complex and will use Al Lang Field to play exhibition games.

Canada and the Netherlands have committed to play 15 – 20 games at Al Lang Field in downtown St Pete during spring 2011, starting February 26th. They will also play exhibition games against the Tampa Bay Rays and other major leager baseball teams. Australia has agreed to play in spring and summer leagues in 2012. Mayor Foster has been working at bringing baseball to St Pete year round.

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Sidewalk Open by 400 Beach in Downtown St Pete

After months of lane closings and blocked off sidewalk construction, the yellow construction tape is gone and you can walk on the broad sidewalk in front of 400 Beach Drive. Construction continues on the interior of the retail units and on the condos, but now you can see it on foot instead of just driving by. The next step – tables, umbrellas and people.

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Ovation Update St Petersburg Florida

Caissons continue to be driven down for the foundation of Ovation, the premier luxury highrise condominium on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg. Actually the caissons are vibrated down into the ground rather than being driven – a real benefit for the ears of nearby residents and businesses. These caissons are from 40 ft high to 100 ft high, and have diameters ranging from 2 feet to 4 feet – so they are huge when standing up on the ground! Once they are secured in the ground, concrete is poured down, and after that has set, the casing is pulled up, again through vibration.  There will be about 195 of these foundation supports on that block. It’s interesting to watch the progress of this building – and easy to do, since it’s at the corner of Beach Drive and 2nd Avenue N. – in between BayWalk and The Pier.

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Big Weekend in downtown St Petersburg Florida

St. Petersburg, Florida, April 21, 2007

This beautiful weekend, sunny and with highs in the 80s and evening lows in the 60s, is a perfect time for the annual Mainsail Arts Festival. Over 100,000 people are expected at waterside Vinoy Park to see – and hopefully buy – artworks from some 270 artists, chosen from over 1,000 applicants from around the U.S.  You’ll see paintings, photography, wood carvings, jewelry and sculpture; enjoy lots of food; and listen to music, including the blues.

At the end of the day, bring a picnic basket and add wine, then enjoy Little Shop of Horrors, which is being produced by American Stage in the Demens Landing waterfront park.

The day started with the weekly Saturday Morning Market on Central Avenue, from 9-2. Fresh and prepared food, plants, artwork, and gifts are offered by various vendors.

Today you could even stop by Marine Quest 2007, presented by the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, on the south end of downtown.

Such a busy day in downtown St Pete – you may not have time to visit the Gulfport Art Walk in Gulfport or the Clearwater Jazz Holiday in Clearwater.

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