Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey okays funding to help grocer move downtown

New Port Richey Mayor Rob Marlowe says this project will benefit downtown.

New Port Richey Mayor Rob Marlowe says this project will benefit downtown.

NEW PORT RICHEY — City leaders have approved up to $250,000 in grant money to spur a joint venture between a real estate investment company and grocery business owners looking to move their store to downtown New Port Richey.

During a meeting Tuesday night, the New Port Richey Community Redevelopment Agency, which is made up of City Council members, approved the initial grant from a program it launched in March to try to encourage redevelopment of the city's aging real estate stock downtown. Dubbed the Commercial Real Estate Redevelopment Program, it is geared toward offering economic incentives to investors in projects of $500,000 or more in the city's redevelopment district, which covers nearly the entire city.

The program's first customers are looking to redevelop one of the more prominent buildings downtown, at 5800 Main St. Built in the 1950s, it most recently housed an antique shop, but originally provided the community a grocery store until the 1980s. The proposed project is a joint venture between 5800 Main LLC, owned by developers Frank Starkey and Jose Cardenas, and Jeff and Kathy Wright, who are looking to move their organic grocery store, Wright's Natural Market, at 6630 U.S. 19, downtown as the building's anchor tenant.

The city's grant program would help refurbish the building, which 5800 Main LLC estimates will cost more than $900,000. The Wrights also estimate kicking in another $286,000, bringing the project total to about $1.2 million, according to city documents.

Members of the CRA board agreed to provide up to $150,000 to 5800 Main LLC to help with renovations, and enter into a development agreement with the Wrights, with a cap of $100,000, to relocate their business and assist with other expenses.

Plans call for Wright's Natural Market to take up 3,500 square feet of the 9,600-square-foot building, with hopes of eventually filling the entire space, according to the store's application.

Jeff Wright told the CRA that in addition to what the current store already offers, plans are to expand the store's organic produce section, bring in more local growers and cottage product makers who can sell their wares in the store, and open a sidewalk cafe with an organic barista station, smoothie bar and "grab and go food."

The decision to approve the grant funding came after the City Council, earlier in the meeting, approved a rezoning for another of Frank Starkey's projects — construction of apartments downtown overlooking Orange Lake.

It is a project that has brought some opposition from the public over traffic and parking concerns. But the apartments fit with the council's desire to redevelop downtown into a walkable neighborhood that will attract young professionals, and Starkey's proposals — including plans for the grocery store — have drawn the council's favor.

"I think it is going to be a real boon for the downtown," said Mayor Rob Marlowe.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Jose Cardenas, co-owner of a building at 5800 Main St. in New Port Richey, who obtained approval for grant money from the city of New Port Richey on May 16 to improve the building, has completed abatement of asbestos contamination in the structure. A story published May 19 included incorrect information about the status of abatement because of inaccurate information in city documents.

New Port Richey okays funding to help grocer move downtown 05/18/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 5:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Girl says her mom asked for forgiveness before stabbing her

    Crime

    ATLANTA — Everyone was asleep when Isabel Martinez began stabbing her children and then fatally stabbed her husband as he tried seek help, her daughter told a child welfare caseworker.

    In a  July 7 file photo, Isabel Martinez gestures towards news cameras during her first court appearance, in Lawrenceville , Ga. Martinez is charged with killing four of her children and their father. [AP Photo/John Bazemore, File]
  2. McCain says 'I'll be back soon' as he battles brain cancer

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Battling brain cancer, Sen. John McCain on Thursday promised to return to work, making a good-natured dig at his Republican and Democratic colleagues who were jolted by news of the six-term lawmaker's diagnosis.

    Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with a brain tumor after a blood clot was removed. [Associated Press]
  3. Fire on neighbor's porch leads to charges against Holiday man

    Crime

    HOLIDAY — A Holiday man was arrested Wednesday after authorities say he torched the front porch of his neighbor, who he insisted was holding his daughter hostage.

    Dan Fry, 63, of Holiday was arrested Wednesday on a charge of first-degree arson. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]
  4. Port Richey man solicited sex from 13-year-old, Pasco authorities say

    Crime

    PORT RICHEY — A Port Richey man was arrested Wednesday after Pasco County authorities say he solicited sex from a 13-year-old boy on the gay male dating app Grindr.

    Shawn Daly, 43, of Port Richey was charged with solicitation for sexual conduct with a child over a computer. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]