Updated: 8:22 a.m., Tuesday

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — A seemingly out-of-nowhere social media post shared Monday afternoon has St. Petersburg art lovers wondering about the future of The Factory, an art destination in the city’s vibrant Warehouse Arts District.

The post was simple: “The Factory is closing. Final show this weekend.”

It included a picture of the venue with the words “out of business” written over it.

That final show, scheduled for Sunday from 5 to 11 p.m., is billed as an “End of Summer Bash” featuring Rich Medina, according to the post shared to Facebook and Instagram.

Within hours, it was taken down from the pages.

Before it was removed, though, many people commenting on the posts were caught off guard by the announcement.

“That’s shocking to read! I hope the space remains vibrant in another capacity,” one Facebook user commented.

Another simply wrote, “What?”

And one Instagram user commented, “This feels sudden.”

Several artists and business owners told Patch they were uncertain about the validity of the post and were waiting to see how it played out.

Meanwhile, Liz Dimmitt, one of The Factory’s owners, told Patch, “We have recently been advised that a part owner of the Factory made a unilateral decision to announce that the Factory was closing. It is not our intention for the Factory to close and we are striving to assure that does not occur. We will keep you advised as to further developments as this situation evolves.”

Dimmitt wouldn’t share which part owner wrote the post.

She told Patch, “I don’t have any more comments to make other than The Factory is not closing and our tenants remain open for business.”

According to the Tampa Bay Times, other owners of The Factory include Kara Behar, executive director of Behar and Peteranecz Architecture, and her husband, Jordan Behar, an architect, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

In a late Monday night Facebook post, The Factory apologized for the confusion, writing, “We have the best intentions and sometimes we mess up. We are still opening new buildings, new experiences and looking for new ways to succeed in serving the community of creatives that call St. Pete and The Factory home.

It added, “We’ve reimagined how we can best celebrate this city’s art, music, and creativity already before. We’re not closing, just changing.”

No details about upcoming changes were provided in the post.

First announced in 2019, The Factory was a massive undertaking that converted eight factory buildings and warehouses into 91,000 square feet of space dedicated to the arts, accord to St. Pete Catalyst. Portions of the space first opened at the end of 2020, after its launch was pushed back a bit because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The venue is home to numerous artists and arts organizations, as well as the Fairgrounds St. Pete, an immersive art experience, and Daddy Kool Records.

In a comment on The Factory’s original announcement, Fairgrounds assured commenters that it has no plans to close.

“Fairgrounds St. Pete is not closing. We will remain open and look forward to hosting you,” Fairgrounds wrote.

Ross Tarr, founder of The Storytellers of Old Tampa Bay, which hosts open mics at the venue, told Patch that he was skeptical of the closure announcement.

“I don’t believe the Facebook post. The Factory has too much going for it,” he said.

And Maureen McDole, president of Keep St. Pete Lit, which calls the venue home, told Patch, “It’s not closing. There is a miscommunication going on. Stay tuned for clarity.”

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