A relative newcomer to St. Petersburg, Joe Furst, Principal of Place Projects says he was immediately drawn to St. Petersburg the moment he toured the City in 2017. Although his first investments were along the Central Avenue corridor, Furst found the Warehouse Arts District the most intriguing.
Place Projects, and its partners, acquired several properties in the Warehouse Arts District and quickly worked to become a part of the community by launching Creative Art at 400, located on 22nd Street South, and becoming an active member in the Warehouse Arts District Association. Place Projects helped fund the outdoor plaza and proposed signature art sculpture by Mark Aeling at the ArtsXchange.
“It was no surprise to my family that I immediately honed in on this hip and edgy district,” said Furst. “I spent most of the last 10 years working to help redevelop Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, so it makes sense to get involved in the Warehouse Arts District.”
Previously, Furst spent over 10 years at Goldman Properties, a real estate development company with holdings in Miami, Philadelphia, and New York City. As the Managing Partner for Goldman Properties’ entire Wynwood portfolio, Furst oversaw the transformation of Wynwood from a fragmented industrial district into an engaging destination and a true live-work-play neighborhood.
“What really helped the Wynwood district thrive was a zoning overlay focused on maintaining the industrial character of the area, while allowing thoughtful, human scale development. The zoning allowed us to curate diverse, but complementary uses,” Furst said. “So you might have a baker, a local light industrial fruit canning company, and live/work lofts all flourishing in the same neighborhood.” Dubbed the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District (NRD), it won the American Planning Association Award for best planning and zoning policy for economic development in 2016.
What’s next for Furst in the Warehouse Arts District?
Furst has been researching and listening to existing business and community leaders in the greater Warehouse Arts District for a couple years now and has become an active business member. He is making plans for the property that Place Projects and its investors own on 22nd Street South, but wants to include the community every step of the way. To reach the community in these days of social distancing, Furst recently launched a project website with an interactive map of the 22nd Street South corridor where visitors can share their feedback.
“The biggest thing I took away from the Wynwood District project was the power of collective thought and how much more you can achieve through commonality,” Furst said. “So, for now, we’ll continue to listen and get feedback from the community so we can chart our future together.”