SEMINOLE — A bar that was once one of this city's trouble spots is scheduled to be transformed into a school dedicated to beauty.
New owners of the site have proposed a complete interior revamping of the former Page II bar for it to morph into the Manhattan Hairstyling Academy. The school, which has locations across the Tampa Bay area, has courses that include hairstyling, haircutting and skin care.
Seminole Mayor Jimmy Johnson, also executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said the city is glad to be getting the hairstyling school.
"An empty storefront will be filled," Johnson said.
He also predicted the school would bring a few jobs to the area. Johnson could not predict how many, but said any are welcome. Seminole has an unemployment rate of about 14.5 percent.
Another benefit is that the business likely will not have as contentious a relationship with the city as the Page II sometimes did.
"That was a trouble spot. That was the reality of it," Johnson said.
Concerns and complaints about the bar ranged from the message on a sign that some deemed to be obscene, although Seminole officials said it was not, to shots being fired in the parking lot one night. At one point, Seminole council members debated passing the county's first ban on allowing minors into bars in an effort to calm the situation at Page II and Boomerz, another local nightspot.
The measure failed to pass, but Johnson said it served to send a message that prompted bar owners and managers to calm their crowds and make sure they obeyed local rules. But the improved relationship with city officials and Pinellas County deputies didn't save Page II. It's unclear when the bar closed its doors.
The site, 8680 Park Blvd., was sold to MHA 8680 LLC in December for $1.1 million, according to property records. It had been sold to its previous owner in October 2005 for $1.4 million.
MHA 8680 is headed by Robert Valdez of Tampa, who also runs the Manhattan Hairstyling Academy.
The changeover of the former Page II to a hairstyling school is not the only business re-do on Park. A restaurant a couple of doors away is also undergoing changes. Opened last year as Curriez , an Indian restaurant, the site at 8556 Park is slated to become Morrisons Grill, a buffet-style restaurant with a liquor license, according to city officials.
Elsewhere in Seminole, a CVS pharmacy is scheduled to be built on Bay Pines Boulevard.
And the Shoe Carnival at Seminole Plaza, 7185 Seminole Blvd., has closed. But Johnson said the storefront will not remain vacant for long. The Bealls Outlet, now in Seminole Mall, plans to move there, he said.
That will be the second anchor store that Seminole Mall has lost recently. The first was the Publix, which moved across 113th Street N last month to a renovated Albertsons.
Bealls' decision to move would seem to be worse news for the beleaguered mall.
"It's unfortunate" for the mall, Johnson said. On the other hand, he said, the decision of Bealls to stay in the city is a good one. As are the decisions by Manhattan, Morrisons and CVS to locate in Seminole.
"We're getting activity again," Johnson said. The business activity might be relatively small right now, he said, but it's heading in the right direction.
Anne Lindberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8450.