Georgie’s Alibi St. Pete is no more

By : Jeremy Williams
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(story edited at 6:50 pm. A representative from the Metro Center reached out to say erroneous statements were made by Robert Barnum. Metro Center is not a part of the Georgie’s Alibi sale. The story has been updated with a statement from Metro Center.)

After nearly 18 months on the market, the famed Georgie’s Alibi closed their doors Sept. 19 to the sound of Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” playing on the dance floor. See photos from Georgie’s final happy hour, and final night in business.

The Alibi made the announcement to the community via Facebook on Sept. 9 after St. Petersburg realtor Robert Barnum, who brokered the deal on behalf of the Alibi, spoke with Watermark about the sale.

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the rumors are true and Georgie’s Alibi St. Petersburg will cease operations at the close of business on Saturday, Sept. 19,” the Alibi said on their Facebook page. “The real estate and an adjoining parcel have been sold to a developer who plans on building new housing units. We can’t thank the greater St. Petersburg community enough for their support over the past 15 years. Technology and the greater acceptance of alternative lifestyles have impacted the viability of gay venues throughout the country, and the Alibi was not immune to this phenomena. Thank you everyone for 15 wonderful years of memories!”

While details of the sale won’t be made public until it closes and becomes public record, Barnum did say that the list price for the Georgie’s Alibi building was $895,000. The building next door was listed for $495,000.

Both buildings were owned by Shoppes of Kenwood LLC and sold to a development company out of Tampa. While the deal is expected to close sometime after the first of the year, the buildings will not be torn down until late 2016. Apartments will be constructed on the sites.

While Georgie’s closed Sept. 19, Earnest Realty, Inc. (which is owned by Barnum) and Salon Swank will remain open for now, as will the Metro Center in the building across the street.

“We are searching for a new 30-thousand square foot space and have anywhere from six-12 months to maybe move,” said Metro CEO Lorraine Langlois. “For many Metro is a lifeline offering primary care, counseling, HIV care and social gathering. We would like to stay in the Historic Kenwood neighborhood and have some prospects but nothing is solid right now. There is no rush and all services will continue as usual.”

That means big changes throughout the neighborhood in the coming year. Georgie’s is closed and Metro Wellness may be searching for a new home within the next six to 12 months.

The property right behind the Alibi was sold to a developer, who is building 53 low income housing units. Earnest Realty did not broker that deal.

“This was the LGBT command center, between the Alibi, MCC and Metro, and Equality Florida being a block away, and there were a lot of gay and gay-friendly businesses in the Metro Center building that have all been given notice to move out,” Barnum says.

King of Peace MCC church of St. Petersburg will not be moving from its building in the Kenwood area.

Georgie’s Alibi and the Kenwood area have also been the staging area for the St. Pete Pride parade and after party.
According to rumors, Pride is looking to move the parade staging to the Tropicana Field, which would change the entire dynamic of Pride.

When reached for comment, Executive Director of St. Pete Pride Eric Skains said that no announcement has been made yet, and that one can be expected by April when St. Pete Pride has their kickoff event next year.

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