Nearly a full block of Grand Central is set to soon be transformed with incoming retail space. Goodyear Rubber Products, founded in 1948 by Murray Jacobs, announced earlier this year that it would be moving its longtime headquarters from 1922 Central Avenue to a new Pinellas Park location, and selling most of the seven parcels that make up its headquarters along Central Avenue and 1st Avenue South.
This week, Barkett Realty announced that five of the seven buildings have sold, with new buyers planning to transform the former warehouse and production areas into updated retail spaces. The news is huge for the neighborhood, where so many restaurants, shops, bars and breweries have contributed to incredible organic growth in recent years. Turning the massive Goodyear compound into retail areas will not only help connect corridors within the neighborhood, but will serve as a catalyst for merging the gap between Grand Central and the EDGE District.
On that note, the revitalization of the 1900 Block on Central will pair nicely with Trails Crossing, a vibrant linear cultural park in the works that will be comprised of four blocks of underutilized surface parking beneath I-275. This combination will also help activate the Pinellas Trail even further, and more seamlessly connect the Warehouse Arts District to the Historic Gas Plant, EDGE, and Grand Central Districts.
While we wait for news on what retailers will take over the prime spaces, we know we can expect storefronts popping up soon along Central and 1st Avenue South before long. Goodyear Rubber also has a revamped retail store open at 1901 1st Avenue South, meaning the only parcel left for sale in the property is an 8,000 square foot retail space at 1922 Central Avenue (interested buyers can contact Tim Butler at Barkett Realty).
“It’s exciting to see this section of Central Ave transform, which will connect the Grand Central District to the Edge District,” said John Barkett, Broker/Owner at Barkett Realty. “This will breathe new life into the area for locals and visitors.”
And truly, this was a success story for all involved parties. Bob Jacobs, the current owner of Goodyear Rubber Products and son of its founder, originally came to Barkett Realty for help finding a space that better met their needs as a production company. Operating under seven different roofs wasn’t ideal, after all. John Barkett and his associate Tim Butler then helped Jacobs find and secure a state-of-the-art 36,000 SF industrial building in Pinellas Park to be Goodyear’s new home.
This, of course, paved the way for Goodyear to sell (most) of the old headquarters and allow the spaces to match the growing retail community in the area. Jacobs again turned to Barkett for that process, which led to this week’s news that so much of the block would officially be seeing new storefronts and tenants.
“For all of these years, we’ve dealt with the inefficiencies of being under seven roofs, albeit on the same block. In some respects, it has stunted our growth,” Jacobs said. “This is an investment in our future.”
Stay tuned to I Love the Burg for updates as we track the incoming retail storefronts.