St. Pete real estate veteran works to fill retail gap

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Bonnie Strickland has real estate in her blood.

A St. Petersburg native, the daughter of an architect and the first woman to own a construction firm in the city, Strickland was raised in the industry.

That’s why, after selling her own real estate firm, she has joined Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT. Strickland, who previously focused on residential real estate, now is concentrating on commercial sales, and is especially excited about possibilities for more storefronts in St. Petersburg.

“We don’t have any high-end retail here. Why do we have to go to Tampa to shop? The money is here. My phone still rings, people still call me for advice, I’m mentoring entrepreneurs, and all the buzz is, ‘I love St. Pete. I love living here, the culture, the arts, the lifestyle, but why don’t we have any retail?,” Strickland said.

An influx of new residents — many of them leaving higher-tax and less business friendly cities — has created a market for high-end home furnishings and other goods.

“What I’m envisioning is what people have asked for. St. Armand’s Circle [in Sarasota] is flourishing and the retailers are killing it. It’s not only tourists who are shopping, its all the locals who shop there,” Strickland said.

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