Thursday, June 21, 2018
Business

The new Shops at St. Pete will have little in common with the old BayWalk

ST. PETERSBURG — About 18 months and $30 million from now the Shops at St. Pete will look and feel very little like BayWalk.

Developers say the sleek, contemporary reincarnation of the long suffering, stucco shopping center will emerge with natural stone walls and columns, dining terraces, outdoor lounges, parking valets, shade canopies, koi ponds and Jumbotrons.

But the Bill Edwards Group, the shopping center's owner, needed a 20-year parking and security agreement with the city to sign tenants and make all this possible. It got it Thursday when the City Council unanimously passed such an agreement.

"We need them and they need us," said Mayor Bill Foster.

Foster said the Shops must have a 20-year agreement in regard to employee parking and security before it can ink contracts with tenants who will sign leases for the same amount of time.

The agreement calls for the city to promise the Shops four things.

It will lease 180 parking spaces on the top deck for the center's employees for 20 years. The Shops will have control over the security in the city-owned garage as well as maintenance of the walkway between the garage and the retail center.

And customers who spend $20 or more at the Shops will get four hours of free parking throughout the first year it is open.

The free parking means the city will lose an estimated $204,000 in revenue. But it expects to gain $253,000 in other parking revenue if the Shops draws more people to the area. It will also save $50,000 a year when it turns over the cost of maintaining the walkway. All told, the city expects to come out ahead by $99,000 the first year the Shops are open.

Wengay Newton was the only council member to question the agreement.

"Wouldn't you be tying a future council and mayor to a 20-year agreement? Why not do it for two or three years while they get it open," he asked Rick Mussett, the city's senior administrator of development. He also reminded council of broken promises from previous BayWalk owners.

But there is an out clause. If the Shops hasn't reopened by June 2014 with at least 51 percent of its space leased, the agreement is off.

Most other council members said they felt good about the agreement and the Bill Edwards Group's plans based on improvements already made at BayWalk and at Mahaffey Theater. Mortgage magnate and music producer Bill Edwards is contracted by the city to manage Mahaffey. He bought BayWalk for $5.2 million a year ago.

Now that the parking agreement is final, the Shops can move forward signing leases and construction will start in February or March.

"We are prepared to proceed immediately. We have a very aggressive schedule to get finished by the beginning of 2014," said Joe Jimenez, managing director of The Edwards Group. "We are deep into negotiations. We will have a minimum of two, most likely three restaurants with ownership that is regarded nationally and internationally."

Those restaurants will be announced in 30 to 60 days, with the names of three anchor retail tenants announced 30 to 60 days after that, he said.

The Tampa Bay Times reported in July that likely tenants include Zakarian's Steak House and Morimoto, an Asian fusion restaurant. "I would say it's pretty certain they are going to be there," Faith Hope Consolo, the New York-based retail consultant contracted by Edwards, said in July. Both restaurants are owned by celebrity chefs featured on the Food Network who have restaurants in places such as New York, Mumbai and Hawaii.

The Shops will compete with International Plaza, Jimenez said, offering apparel and home goods that St. Petersburg residents currently buy in Tampa.

The plaza in the middle of the center will offer events like wine tastings and art shows, he told the council. Its website, theshopsatstpete.com promises even more.

Along with dining and shopping, it refers to fashion shows, food shows, celebrity events, cooking and photography classes and book readings.

Fountains, ponds, tiny sparkling lights against the sky and landscaped living walls will create a resort-like ambiance.

A wait staff will deliver wine and cocktails to sitting areas throughout the second floor terrace.

"The Shops at St. Pete is the place to see and be seen," the flowing copy declares.

What remains to be seen is whether this alluring vision comes to fruition.

Comments
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Updated: 6 hours ago
WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

Mike Piper has traveled to Las Vegas and Miami and enjoyed the fun, daytime, party pool scene that the two cities have to offer.Now he aims to bring that same atmosphere to Tampa with a new dining and hang out spot. WTR Pool & Grill opened on Sunday ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

A new resale store has made its way to South Tampa. Grace Family Church recently opened Vintage Etc., to provide affordable, quality merchandise to the community and continue its outreach to help families in need in a loving Christian environment. "W...
Updated: 8 hours ago
2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

Summer has officially started and so have summer travel plans. About 2.4 million Floridians are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, up 6.3 percent from last year, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group."We are already seeing a b...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison will build a new subdivision off of Boyette Road between Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Overpass Road.The builder and developer recently broke ground on Chapel Chase, set on approximately 40 acres just north of New Tampa in Pasco County....
Updated: 8 hours ago
Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain & Berry Cafe opened in Palm Harbor, and now the healthy eatery is rapidly expanding throughout the Tampa Bay area.The healthy eatery opened a new location on E Fowler Ave near the University of South Florida in May, just 10 months after opening...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were losing out on billions of dollars annually under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that impact...
Updated: 10 hours ago