Jul 25, 2014
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Effort to Save Historic YMCA from Demolition Gets Good News

The applicant seeking to demolish the historic YMCA has asked the city for a month deferral.

Effort to Save Historic YMCA from Demolition Gets Good News Effort to Save Historic YMCA from Demolition Gets Good News Effort to Save Historic YMCA from Demolition Gets Good News Effort to Save Historic YMCA from Demolition Gets Good News Effort to Save Historic YMCA from Demolition Gets Good News Effort to Save Historic YMCA from Demolition Gets Good News Effort to Save Historic YMCA from Demolition Gets Good News

The Historic YMCA is safe from demolition — at least for another month. 

According to Peter Belmont, president of St. Petersburg Preservation, the applicant has asked the city to defer the demolition hearing until Dec. 14. 

Belmont, St. Petersburg Preservation and a group of promoters looking to turn the YMCA building into the St. Petersburg Rock and Roll Museum have been collecting signatures and postcards to persuade the city not to demolish the building. 

Although the hearing to consider the demolition of the YMCA building and clearing the site, which the Community Preservation Commission was slated hear Friday, has been delayed, Belmont is cautiously optimistic going forward. 

"One can never be positive the building is safe until there is a plan that has been officially accepted," Belmont said in an interview with Patch. "It’s a great building. It has a variety of options for another life."

Thomas Nestor with Nofoes Media Group hopes the next life of the Historic YMCA building will be as the St. Petersburg Rock and Roll Museum. 

In October, Nestor launched a public fundraising effort to turn the building into a rock museum by day and a music venue by night. He has dreams of there being a studio, music therapy and classrooms in the upstairs of the building as well. 

On Oct. 2 Nestor and his group signed an agreement for the building with the first down payment due on November 15, which is $20,000 and is due today. A closing date is set for June 2013, which during that time Nestor said the group needs to raise $1.4 million. 

UPDATE: Nestor said he's received "tons of donation requests," and the day before the deadline a "white knight" stepped in and made a $20,000 donation. 

"We are far from out of the woods yet and now have a ton of work to do for we now have monthly payments due of $8000," Nestor said.  

At 1:30 p.m. Thursday on the steps of City Hall St. Petersburg Preservation, Awake Pinellas and Historic YMCA will be conducting a press conference and turning in to city council post cards asking for the city not to demolish the historic YMCA building. 

Belmont said developers should look at the YMCA as an opportunity to renovate a historic site as a great opportunity. Renovating a historic building has two big tax incentives, he said. 

First, there is a federal tax credit, which allows up to 20 percent of the developer's renovation costs to be taken out as credit. Second, there is local property tax relief. Belmont said properties designated as historic receive a 10-year tax baseline, which means what the property tax is when the plan is approved is frozen for the first 10 years. 

This past Sunday, more than 500 people took free guided tours of the building for what could have been the last time to see inside the building. Nestor and Belmont hoped the tour would help fundraising efforts and possibly find a business partner to develop the site. 

Belmont hopes that passion that drove people to take the tour persuades council not to demolish the Historic YMCA.

"We encourage people to continue to make their feelings about the building known," Belmont said. "Make sure the city knows that there is an interest out there. We have some confidence that people will continue to make those feelings know and then city council wont allow the demolition to occur."

If you're looking to make a donation, business investment or sponsorship for the St. Petersburg Rock and Roll Museum you can email Nestor directly at  nofoesent@cs.com or visit  HistoricYMCA.com

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