ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A plan to help preserve small businesses along the quaint and trending corridor in Downtown St. Petersburg got only partial support from city council members. 

  • City council partially approves plan to help small businesses in St. Pete
  • Plan to provide grants to small businesses, help them develop storefronts
  • Second part of plan still up for debate; next meeting in two weeks

Thursday afternoon, the council voted to approve part of Mayor Rick Kriseman’s Storefront Conservation Corridor Program that aims to help keep small businesses from being priced out of Central Avenue and Beach Drive. 

It's become the hottest business strip in town, but small businesses owners are finding the hot spot is coming at a hefty price.

Kriseman's plan targets the business district along Beach Drive and Central Avenue to 31st Street. 

The first part of the plan, which was approved by councilmembers, will provide grants to small businesses to help them develop their stores and even pay the ever-increasing rents.

However, the second part of the plan that sets guidelines for property owners when deciding how to divvy up the storefront space they lease was tabled by the city council.

“It's about buying a piece of property and then having to split it up the way someone else wants to, not the way you want to,” Council Chair Charlie Gerdes said. "So it restricts their flexibility a little bit.” 

Mayor Rick Kriseman says his plan is not that invasive.

“The idea is, no matter whether a business leaves or a new development happens and builds a new store front that it mirrors what's currently there,” Kriseman said. 

Some business owners along the trendy corridor have mixed feelings about the plan. 

“The plan as it is isn't quite finished yet,” James Ryan, owner of Kalamazoo Olive Company, said. “I still think there's some work to be done on hashing out some of those fine details and I think council agrees.” 

The City Council is expected to take up the second part of the measure at their meeting in two weeks.