Unveiling of design concepts for Sankofa on the Deuces, Oct. 5 

Part of the group of 27 from St. Petersburg who toured Durham’s Black Wall Street during a trip they say inspired the Sankofa project vision. Photo courtesy of All Photos Considered

ST. PETERSBURG — The City of St. Petersburg and the Sankofa Group invites residents, entrepreneurs, and partners to attend a public meeting presenting design concepts and project updates regarding Sankofa on The Deuces is poised to become the first-ever mixed-format business facility in south St. Petersburg.

The event will happen on two platforms simultaneously, on Oct. 5, from 6-8 p.m. In-person attendees will gather at the Historic Manhattan Casino, 642 22nd St. S. On-line attendees will participate via Zoom.

Both events introduce the facility’s external and internal design ideas and the design and construction team working on the project. A brief 30-minute program by Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin, city project manager James Jackson, and Sankofa Group representatives will give essential details about the project goals and schedule.

Live attendees will also be able to network with project partners and local businesses interested in leasing space and enjoy complimentary food and beverages.

The Sankofa project is one element of the City’s Deuces Rising plan and the community-led IGNITE Deuces initiative to inspire the end-to-end revitalization of 22nd Street (a.k.a., the Deuces). The city has so far committed $25 million to the vision of reviving the Deuces to its former glory over the next decade, including investments in the development of Sankofa on the Deuces, the new Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, the redevelopment of Tangerine Plaza, streetscaping and place-making.

The Sankofa facility is the first in the Deuces Rising portfolio to go vertical and is the commercial component of the three-part Sankofa Vision. The broader project also includes new construction of approximately 24 townhomes, for sale to families at 60 to 120 percent of Area Median Income, on an adjacent site, and the creation of a new Development Fund to accelerate development along with the Deuces and other CRA corridors, with below-market loans and equity that enhance their viability.

“I am excited to preview designs for the Deuces Rising project,” said Mayor Rick Kriseman. “This is the result of a lot of time, determination, and most importantly, the voice of our citizens. Many thanks to the partners who have brought us so far in this process. I particularly want to thank our partners at Sankofa for their vision and for their dedication to the Deuces corridor and to the Sunshine City.”

Sankofa members and partner organizations will be on hand for the occasion. The Sankofa Group is made up of five non-profit organizations: The 2020 Plan/One Community, Pinellas County Urban League, Mt. Zion Human Services, Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation, and CDC of Tampa.

Photo courtesy of All Photos Considered

The Sankofa Advisory Council will also be represented, both live and via Zoom.

The Sankofa facility is being designed to accommodate as many as 58 traditional and micro spaces for retail, office, and foodservice tenants as well as entertainment venues. A digital & creative tech incubator will help bridge start-ups into the city’s emerging venture capital pipeline.

“Picture the type of urban business hubs you’ve seen in cities like New York, Chicago and Atlanta,” said Gypsy Gallardo, CEO, The 2020 Plan, and One Community. “Sankofa on the Deuces will bring that energy to our community, offering unique and affordable space formats combined with on-site business growth services.”

Several business affiliates of One Community, Pinellas County Urban League, and Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation have already expressed interest in leasing space at Sankofa.

Tiffany Moore, owner of Moore Eventful Event Hall is contemplating relocating from her Pinellas Park location to help anchor Sankofa, including two buildings.

“I’ve worked with four of the Sankofa partner organizations over the past five years to grow my firm, and this is a perfect next step for me,” shared Moore. They truly support community businesses, and this is everything we envisioned during our tour of Black Wall Street in Durham three years ago.”

Moore refers to the group trip of 27 South St. Petersburg leaders who toured equity initiatives in Durham, North Carolina, including the famous American Underground incubator and co-working facility.

Pastor Louis Murphy initiated the trip to see the American Underground after touring the facility as part of a trip hosted by the St. Petersburg Area Chamber.

“Sankofa is about a future where all of the vibrancy we see in downtown St. Petersburg is activated on the Deuces, where community entrepreneurs have the amenities and resources they need to thrive,” stated Murphy.

To RSVP for the event or more information about Deuces Rising, visit stpete.org/deucesrising.

Sankofa Advisory Council Members

  • Gypsy C. Gallardo, One Community
  • Watson Haynes, II, Pinellas County Urban League
  • Charlotte Anderson, Pinellas County Urban League
  • Louis Murphy, Sr., Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church
  • Albert Lee, Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation
  • Ernest Coney, CDC of Tampa
  • Veatrice Farrell, Deuces Live
  • Brother John Muhammad, Community Development & Training Center
  • Jabaar Edmonds, Community Development & Training Center
  • Gwen Reese, African American Heritage Association
  • Terri Lipsey Scott, Woodson Museum
  • Roy Binger, Binger Financial
  • Atty. Tamara Felton, Felton-Howard Law (Sankofa General Counsel)
  • Askia Muhammad Aquil, Collective Empowerment Group of the Tampa Bay Area
  • Roy & Izabelle James, James Insurance Solutions (Vision Investors)
  • Gloria Campbell, Advantage Insurance Solutions
  • Tahisia Scantling, Right Turn Realty

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