ST. PETERSBURG — A sight that has become rarer in Pinellas County than the lone ibis is sprouting at the intersection of Roosevelt Boulevard, Gandy Boulevard and Fourth Street. It's a new shopping center called Ibis Walk, opening this spring. It has been a while since one of those has gone up.
And it's not just a row of boxes, windows and concrete. The 40,000-square-foot center features brick sidewalks and crosswalks lined with tall palms, earth-tone awnings and strings of decorative white lights.
Anchor tenants include Dollar General and Eggstyle, an upscale restaurant featuring omelets, crepes, waffles, smoothies and gourmet coffees.
"The ownership is an investment group that is long-term focused. They are looking at building value," said Paul Rutledge, a vice president with Casto, Ibis Walk's leasing and management company. Plans call for multifamily housing to go up behind the retail space, though a construction date is not set.
The property owner is a company associated with longtime Pinellas developer Grady Pridgen. He could not be reached for comment. Another company associated with the shopping center and Pridgen bought the former Hooters at 10400 Roosevelt Blvd. for $1 million in June.
"There are plans to retrofit that building. It will be brought up to a more contemporary look," Rutledge said. "We've talked to a number of operators. We think it will turn into something probably in the specialty nature, not just a wings place."
A site plan on Casto's website indicates that "Publano's Mexican" restaurant is opening in the former Hooters. Rutledge would not confirm that.
The center was 50 percent leased before construction began and should be 80 percent full when it opens. Other tenants are a nail salon, a dry cleaner and cellphone store.
General contractor Walker & Co. of Winter Park has almost completed its part of the job, said project manager John Crabtree. At the peak of construction, about 90 employees were working on the site, he said, adding that it was good to be building a high-end center in St. Petersburg.
"The (Ibis Walk) owners know what they want and believe in doing a good job," Crabtree said.
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Reach Katherine Snow Smith at (727) 893-8785 or email@example.com.