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Renovated Publix store will be the centerpiece of Disston Plaza upgrade

By Waveney Ann Moore | Times Staff
Published: October 26, 2017 Updated: October 27, 2017 at 10:30 AM
A look at the northern end of the Disston Plaza shopping center in St. Petersburg, which is getting a much-needed facelift and improved traffic access. With the exception of a Publix supermarket, all stores will remain open during construction. The old Publix, opened in 1961, will be demolished starting in November, and a new one will be built. [The Sembler Company]

ST. PETERSBURG ó The 56-year-old Disston Plaza shopping center is about to get a much-needed facelift and improved traffic access.

With the exception of a Publix supermarket, the shopping centerís main anchor, all stores will remain open during construction. The old Publix will be demolished starting in November, and a new one will be built.

Publix spokesman Brian West said the new supermarket will open in late 2018 and will be about 4,000 square feet larger than the old one, which opened on July 20, 1961.

"Itís definitely a huge improvement for the Disston Heights area. It is a traditional store," West said, adding that the new store will offer a pharmacy just like the old store did.

The 123,000-square-foot shopping center at 3501 49th St. N is almost fully leased. Besides Publix, tenants include Beallís Outlet, Dollar Tree, Pet Supermarket and Tobyís Original Little Italy Pizza.

The property is owned by Sembler and Forge Capital Partners, through its Forge Real Estate Partners III investment fund. The upgrades announced by the Sembler team will include new lighting and landscaping, and improvements to parking and pedestrian areas. Work also will include a new traffic signal at 49th Street, in front of the plaza, and the widening of a section of the road from 38th Avenue to just south of the shopping center.

Spokeswoman Amber Brink≠ley said the developer secured required approvals for the traffic improvements from the city of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County and will also pay for this part of the project. She declined to give the cost of the overall redevelopment, saying that it is not information Sembler typically shares.

Sembler and Publix representatives recently met with businesses in Disston Plaza to discuss the project. The Disston Heights Civic Association also hosted an informational meeting.

"They had site maps and a pretty decent time line," said Jennifer Joern, association president, adding that those who attended were pleased with the information they received.

Besides the shopping centerís revitalization, Joern said she is pleased to see a new Dunkiní Donuts Baskin-Robbins store going in nearby.

"Itís nice to see upgrades being made to existing businesses and new business going into the Disston Heights neighborhood," she said.

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.