Endangered Historic Sites

400 Block of Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

400 Block of Central Ave St Pete 400 Block of Central Ave St Pete

The historic setting and appearance of the 400 Block of Central Avenue is one of an early 20th century “main street” commercial district in the urban center of St. Petersburg. The plat of the city was made in 1888 by engineers of the Orange Belt Railroad. The structures along the 400 block of Central Avenue have changed constantly over time. Before 1918 the majority of the buildings on Central were one to three story vernacular style masonry or wood frame commercial buildings containing retail shops on the ground floor and a mixture of hotel rooms or offices on the upper floors. The Central National Bank Building when it was built in 1911-1912 was the largest and most architecturally sophisticated structure along Central Avenue. During the 1920s Florida Land Boom many of the pre-1918 structures were demolished and replaced with new buildings of a dramatically larger size that were of masonry construction and designed in more sophisticated architectural styles. The adjacent Pheil Hotel, at a height of 11 stories was the tallest building in the city and the nearby Snell Arcade Building, the West Coast Title Company Building (City Multi-services bldg.), and the Florida Theater Building, also built in this era, were about 80’ to 100’ high, thus creating the highest density land use in the city. The present-day appearance of the area around the Central National Bank Building has not changed significantly, many of its pre-1945 commercial buildings survive. The north side of the 400 block of Central with the Kress and Snell Arcade buildings is largely intact in its historic appearance. The south side of the 400 block of Central Avenue lies on the southern edge of the Downtown St. Petersburg Historic District (8PI10648) which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.