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The Factory in St. Pete sells, anchor tenant rebrands

A building sale in St. Petersburg resulted in the expansion and rebranding of an immersive art experience.


More than 150,000 visitors have been to Fairgrounds St. Pete since Liz Dimmitt opened it in 2021.
More than 150,000 visitors have been to Fairgrounds St. Pete since Liz Dimmitt opened it in 2021.
Photo by Mark Wemple
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An immersive art experience in St. Petersburg is rebranding and expanding.

What was previously known as Fairgrounds St. Pete is now called FloridaRAMA. It changed its name just as the campus where it is located changed hands.

FloridaRAMA is the anchor tenant at The Factory St. Pete. Recently the building complex was sold to The Factory Investors of St. Pete, whose lead investor is entrepreneur Tom Gaffney, according to FloridaRAMA CEO Liz Dimmitt. The buyer paid $8.04 million for The Factory, Pinellas County property records show; the building was assessed at $6.27 million in 2023.

A trust owned by Dimmitt's family was the seller, she tells the Business Observer in a phone interview. (The Dimmit Family owns multiple car dealerships in the region dating back some 100 years.)

“Over the last couple of months, I’ve gotten to know our new landlord, and I pitched the idea of FloridaRAMA expanding and taking on more space at The Factory,” Dimmitt says. “It seemed like a natural time.”

As part of the expansion, FloridaRAMA will add a cafe with work spaces and free wifi people can access without needing to pay admission to the art experience.

The cafe area is currently under construction, while a bar is already open, according to Dimmitt. Previously the bar had been available for special events only, she says, and soon it will have set hours. In July or August, the plan is to add hot drinks, then have a fully functional cafe in the fall.

“It’s all tied to the buildout,” Dimmitt says, alluding to the difficulty in predicting construction schedules.

One thing she does know is that the name of her immersive art installation was due to change.

“Rebranding has been in the cards for almost a year,” Dimmitt says. 

The team at Fairgrounds St. Pete had been calling their Diorama Room “FloridaRAMA” already, Dimmitt says, so the name had become part of the language. Plus, FloridaRAMA fits the mission more as far as telling Florida’s stories through art.

“We celebrate that we’re wacky, wonderful Florida here,” Dimmitt says. “We’ve just sort of outgrown [the previous name], and we are trying to limit brand confusion with the Florida State Fairgrounds” in Tampa. One Google reviewer gave the art experience one star because there were not any rides, she notes.

“We originally chose Fairgrounds St. Pete because we were thinking of the World’s Fair, where new ideas were on display, but FloridaRAMA is just a better fit,” Dimmitt says.

More than 150,000 visitors have been to the immersive art experience since it opened in 2021. On the revenue side, Fairgrounds St. Pete did $2 million in 2023.

Now under the name FloridaRAMA, the organization will manage all events on The Factory’s campus, which is also home to Daddy Kool Records, Museum of Motherhood as well as other tenants, including more than 15 art studios.

Dimmitt, recently named a 2024 Top Entrepreneur by the Business Observer, calls it an “exciting time" for the space.

“I’m thrilled to be able to focus on FloridaRAMA and expanding the arts programming,” Dimmitt says. This month, FloridaRAMA will host its first live theater experience. It is partnering with American Stage to put on the show on June 23.

 Says Dimmitt: “We just want to do more and more."

This story was updated to include the sales price of The Factory.

 

author

Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a business news reporter with the Business Observer, covering primarily Sarasota-Bradenton, in addition to other parts of the region. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she previously covered hyperlocal news in Maryland for Patch for 12 years. Now she lives in Sarasota County.

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