Monday, June 18, 2018
Business

Changes in store for Largo Mall and movie theater

LARGO — Changes are in store for the Largo Mall area.

First, mall officials are thinking about building a larger, more prominently located movie theater to replace its Regal Cinema 8, an older theater tucked into a back corner of the mall.

Second, the city of Largo is paving the way for denser development around the mall. That has made some residents of the surrounding neighborhoods a bit nervous about what to expect.

Both subjects came up Tuesday night at a Largo City Commission meeting. Elected officials wanted to make sure that the city's actions would not hurt or delay any of Largo Mall's future plans. Commissioners were told it wouldn't be a problem.

"They're looking at making some changes to their theaters," said Robert Klute, Largo's assistant community development director. "It would involve some additional square footage."

Largo Mall officials have been watching Westfield Countryside mall have success with its Cobb Countryside 12 cineplex, which opened in 2011 on the second floor of a 70,000-square-foot addition to that mall. It was Pinellas County's first new cineplex in a decade.

There's also the fact that Largo's only other movie theater, the aging AMC Tri-City 8 at U.S. 19 and East Bay Drive, closed last month. That could affect Largo Mall's plans.

"One of the things they've discussed is closing the theaters where they currently are, and to be more marketable, building an extra two floors above the Bealls store," Klute told Largo commissioners. "It would allow them to configure a better, more contemporary space that meets the current market for theaters."

The mall's Bealls department store is closer to Ulmerton Road and is generally more visible than the existing theater.

Largo Mall officials would not confirm any of this. The mall is owned by Houston-based Weingarten Realty, a real estate investment trust that owns hundreds of shopping centers throughout the southern United States.

Such companies are generally tight-lipped about their plans until they're ready to take action. The mall has not submitted a formal proposal to the city. Constructing a three-story building there would require some flexibility with Largo's height restrictions, according to city officials.

Klute has assured Largo's Planning Board that the mall has enough parking to handle a bigger movie theater.

More density

Largo commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a "Special Area Plan" that lays out a vision for the Largo Mall area, including all four corners of the intersection of Ulmerton Road and Seminole Boulevard.

The plan is intended to be a catalyst for economic development. It must also be approved by the Pinellas County Commission.

There are no zoning changes in the plan. Any property that's zoned for residential or commercial use is still zoned for that.

However, the plan will allow future developments to have more density than what's currently allowed — if developers follow the city's new guidelines for the Largo Mall area.

For example, a mixed-use development on land that's zoned as "commercial general" would normally be allowed 24 condos or apartments per acre. If the developer took steps such as adding pedestrian and bicycle trails, such a development could be allowed to have 30 dwelling units per acre instead — a 25 percent increase.

At a meeting of the Planning Board last month, Largo resident Ron Roberts spoke up for dozens of mobile home residents on nearby Robin Lane. They own the parcels where their mobile homes are located, but they fear that a developer could seize their property and evict them.

"I need to know what's coming down the road, along with 30 other families in there," he said.

Klute assured him that nothing in Largo's new rules would allow anyone to seize property.

To further reassure neighbors, in the future Largo plans to follow the model it used when it recently approved a developer's plan to build 260 apartments at the site of the Briarwood Travel Villas, an RV park near Largo Mall.

After Briarwood's neighbors complained, Largo required additional setbacks and buffer zones between the new apartment complex and adjoining properties. It also required the complex's tallest buildings to be located farthest away from the neighbors.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151.

 
Comments
St. Petersburg residents will see higher water, sanitation bills

St. Petersburg residents will see higher water, sanitation bills

ST. PETERSBURG — Residents can expect their water and sanitation bills to increase between $7 and $11 starting in October.That represents an average of a 7-percent increase. Customers who use an average of 4,000 gallons a month, including reclaimed w...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Spectrum’s new service will eventually increase the cost for TV

Spectrum’s new service will eventually increase the cost for TV

Spectrum’s new all-digital service is set to bring more high definition, faster internet speeds and expanded on-demand offerings — but it also comes with higher costs for some of its TV customers in Tampa Bay. Each TV that receives service from Spect...
Published: 06/19/18
Pasco Business Digest for June 22

Pasco Business Digest for June 22

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITALS RECEIVE AWARD: Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point and Medical Center of Trinity were recipients of Healthgrades 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award, a designation that recognizes superior performance of hospitals t...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Hernando Business Digest for June 22

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITAL RECEIVES AWARD: Oak Hill Hospital in Spring Hill was the recipient of Healthgrades 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award, a designation that recognizes superior performance of hospitals that have prevented the occurrence...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

An Orlando private equity firm has purchased lease-to-own business Rent-A-Center in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.Vintage Capital Management put a bid in for the company on Friday: $15 per share, $1 per share above its previous offer. Rent-A-...
Published: 06/18/18
Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

One of Florida’s biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest ri...
Published: 06/18/18
Mazzaro’s gets ready to reopen

Mazzaro’s gets ready to reopen

day after an electrical fire broke out in its dry goods warehouse Friday night.Dominic Horwath, a grocery manager at Mazzaro’s on 22nd Ave. N, said staffers spent Monday and the weekend moving things into other warehouses.The damage from the fire at ...
Published: 06/18/18
Mazzaro’s market set to reopen Tuesday after blaze damaged one of its warehouses

Mazzaro’s market set to reopen Tuesday after blaze damaged one of its warehouses

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market is scheduled to reopen Tuesday after an electrical fire broke out its dry goods warehouse Friday night.Dominic Horwath, a grocery manager at Mazzaro’s on 22nd Avenue N said staff spent Monday and the weekend...
Published: 06/18/18
Developer Grady Pridgen buys St. Pete’s shuttered Edward White Hospital

Developer Grady Pridgen buys St. Pete’s shuttered Edward White Hospital

ST. PETERSBURG — Edward White Hospital, closed four years ago because of declining revenues, has been sold to developer Grady Pridgen for $2.7 million.Pridgen could not be reached Monday for comment. City officials said he has submitted plans for rem...
Published: 06/18/18
Tampa Bay gas prices keep falling

Tampa Bay gas prices keep falling

The summer reprieve in gas prices is continuing.After flirting near the $3 mark, Tampa Bay gas prices fell another six cents a gallon over the past week to an average of $2.65 for unleaded, a wide gap with the national average of $2.91 a gallon, acco...
Published: 06/18/18