Aldi, the German no-frills grocer moving aggressively into Central Florida, is putting its first outlet in St. Petersburg in a remodeled Food Lion at 2900 34th St. S. Set to open this fall along with seven Aldis in Pinellas County, the store will take up about a third of the 54,400-square-foot center that has struggled to stay full since it opened in 1989. The storefront most recently housed a furniture store and a church. Some tenants, who have been renting month to month, will be replaced over time now that 60 percent of the center's space is spoken for and improvements are coming. The owners are looking for a casual sit-down restaurant chain. "The neighborhood hit bottom, and now I think 34th Street S is going to become the next Fourth Street N," said Frank Bozikovich of Commerical Partners Realty, a Broadwaters resident who manages the center for its Orlando owner. "The Wal-Mart nearby showed this is the retail destination for south St. Petersburg all the way to Tierra Verde."
– Mark Albright, Times staff writer