ST. PETERSBURG — For decades, the three vacant buildings have been encased in aluminum grillwork that makes them look like enormous cheese graters. As the rest of downtown roars back to life, the block they sit on remains a dead zone in the heart of the city.
But that soon could change.
Once-warring owners of the 400 block of Central Avenue have reached what they call a “historic agreement” that could finally free the property for redevelopment.
First States Investors, a California real estate investment trust, and the Pheil family have long wrangled over leases that require the trust to pay $700,000 a year in rent for a crumbling parking garage and buildings haunted by vandals, the homeless and a mummified cat.