TRANSFORMING THE HISTORIC ST. PETERSBURG YMCA
The St. Petersburg chapter of the YMCA was organized in June 1920. The YMCA building located downtown was constructed in 1927 with the help of $550,000 of community donations.
The building was designed by University of Minnesota Professor Clarence Brown and local architect Archie G. Parish. Parish had also designed many other buildings in St. Petersburg including First Presbyterian Church, Christ United Methodist Church, Mound Park Hospital, Jordan Park Housing Project, Palladium Theater, and the administration building of St. Petersburg Junior College. Edward S. Moore and Sons served as contractors who had also built the St. Pete Times Building and the Coast Guard Air Station.
Designed in a Mediterranean Revival style, it stand at four stories tall with a basement and a fifth story tower. The style is expressed with arched windows and doorways, wreathed columns, balconettes trimmed with ornamental iron railings, and varied roof lines with barrel tile. The decorative swimming pool is one of the more notable features. Along the east wall of the pool is a fountain memorializing David S. Welch, who donated $20,000 to the YMCA to have the pool built. Many of the decorative Spanish tiles in and around the building were imported from Seville, Spain.
The YMCA offered facilities for boxing, wrestling, wrestling, and baseball. A cafeteria and pool were located in the basement. The gym and suspended jogging track were on the 1st floor, above the pool area. Offices and public rooms were located on the 1st and 2nd floors and 54 dormitory rooms provided affordable lodging on the 3rd and 4th floors.
The residential program ceased operations in 1989 and the entire club relocated to a new facility in 2001. The YMCA building was designated a historic landmark of St. Petersburg in 1991.
The majestic, mysterious and historical YMCA building has now sat vacant at the corner of 5th Street South and 2nd Avenue South in St. Petersburg, Florida for decades. Political and social stalemates, disagreements as to the use of the property, legal and financial holds have all contributed to the dilapidation and lack of progress on the building—until now.
Former-professional-football-player-turned-real estate businessman, Nick Ekonomou has pledged to completely redefine the building into a luxury boutique hotel, condominium, fitness, and social complex while still maintaing the original historical integrity and layout of the building.
With his pledge has also come a great deal of opposition and drama to stop the change. We not only document the transformation of the building every step of the way and those who are doing it, but we also highlight the drama behind the scenes and how Nick handles the pressures of this new project while managing his own development company.
TAKE A TOUR OF THE ABANDONED, HISTORIC YMCA BUILDING IN VR
"THE MAN BEHIND THE VISION"
Nick Ekonomou, former-professional-football-player-turned-real estate businessman, has pledged to completely redefine the building into a luxury boutique hotel, condominium, fitness, and social complex while still maintaining the original historical integrity and layout of the building.
Under a contract with a local partnership, he will pay $1.4 million for the building at 116 Fifth St. S on or before Sept. 30. He expects to invest another $6 million to $9 million in rehabbing the 50,000-square-foot building.
Ekonomou, a former offensive lineman at FSU who played in the Canadian Football League in the early 1990s, has redeveloped numerous apartment projects and single-family homes in Miami-Dade County.
Earlier this year in St. Petersburg, he paid $370,000 for a 6,000-square-foot apartment building at 638 Third Ave. S that was built in 1910. He's in the process of renovating the building's eight rental units.Ideas are swirling for the YMCA building, which was built for $550,000 during the Sunshine City's 1920s boom.
The basement pool, lined with decorative tiles where thousands of residents of the city learned to swim, will be a central part of the spa that Ekonomou envisions. Other basement space will lend itself to a small brewery to supply a house beer to a high-end restaurant upstairs.
The lofty gymnasium will house concerts and also be available for private events such as weddings and bat mitzvahs. Ekonomou said he plans to build his own home on the top floor, as well as other apartments that could be rented for a night, a week or a month. He's also considering a boutique hotel concept.
Links to News Articles:
Video Production company needs interviewees for The Edward/YMCA project documentary. For more information, check out the article here.
Over the course of the renovation and restoration, a St. Petersburg, FL based production company, Scatter Brother Productions, has continued documenting the transformation over the historic YMCA building into The Edward, a multi-purposed facility featuring hotel rooms, restaurants, events, and more. During this time, videos will be available on The Edward's YouTube page and will preview the YMCA transformation.
Please at your leisure take a preview look at "The Making of the Edward," in progress.
For general information, or to contact the owner of the Historic YMCA/The Edward Building, please fill out the form below.