The St. Petersburg Yacht Club plans to tear down and rebuild its downtown facility.
The yacht club notified members on Tuesday of its plans to redevelop its property at 11 Central Ave. A year ago, the club hired a “well-qualified architectural firm” to study its remodeling options. Between the architects’ findings and 20 focus group sessions with members, club leadership has decided that renovating the existing facility is not feasible.
Rhett Robicheaux, the club’s general manager, was not immediately available for comment Thursday.
The club’s board of directors voted unanimously to replace the existing facility in five years, according to a letter from Brian K. Smith, yacht club president. To help pay for the new facility, the club’s capital contribution member charge will rise from $50 to $125 per month at the beginning of the fiscal 2024-25 year.
Smith’s letter says the club plans to raise about 50% of the estimated replacement cost before beginning construction, and the balance will be financed.
“An important component of the plan is to secure a temporary location to serve our members during the construction period. It is also anticipated that the hours of operation of the Pass-A-Grille location will be maximized during this time frame,” Smith wrote. “The anticipated construction period is two years.”
The yacht club has been a mainstay of St. Petersburg’s waterfront for over a century; it was built in 1921, according to Pinellas County property records. Members wanted improvements like elevator and roof replacement, electrical repairs, pool and tiki deck replacement — but even if those were made, the property would not be compliant with FEMA standards.
“The desired improvements would be cost-prohibitive with a remodel,” Smith wrote.