NORTH REDINGTON BEACH — The Wine Cellar Restaurant may close and be redeveloped as a Sweetbay Supermarket.
Tonight, the restaurant owners and representatives of the AG Development Group will hold a public meeting at the restaurant, at 17307 Gulf Blvd., to explain the proposed redevelopment. The meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m.
This is the second time the Tampa-based developers have sought to build a supermarket at Pinellas beaches.
The firm's effort in 2005 and 2006 to build a multiuse, three-story Publix, parking garage and 20 condominiums collapsed against intense opposition from Indian Rocks Beach officials and many residents there who succeeded in defeating a citywide referendum.
The property is still vacant but after a recent marketing study commissioned by that town, AG Development president Allen Goins said attitudes may be changing there.
"I am looking at reapplying at Indian Rocks Beach," Goins said Tuesday.
AG Development specializes in building commercial retail and office centers across the country.
Now, the developers and Wine Cellar owners are hoping that North Redington Beach residents and officials want a grocery store within the town limits.
At a previous meeting held by the Wine Cellar and the developers with residents at the Gull Harbor condominiums, Mayor Bill Queen said residents were concerned over traffic patterns, hours of operation and possible increase in crime.
"Overall, we received a very positive response,'' Goins said. "There were very penetrating questions that we are working to get answers for."
Plans call for the existing Wine Cellar Restaurant to be torn down.
A spokesman for the Wine Cellar could not be reached, but Goins said he understands the family that runs the restaurant does not have plans to relocate or continue operations.
The proposed 28,000-square-foot Sweetbay would be built at street level and include two other retail shops, possibly a hair salon or a sandwich shop.
The building's design will evoke a rustic island theme, he said.
"I hope we can break ground after the first of the year and be open by Christmas 2013," Goins said.
If the project is to go forward it will require a land use change for the property — which will also require state approval of an updated town comprehensive plan.
In 2006, the North Redington Beach Town Commission changed the land use for the Wine Cellar property from residential/office/retail to residential high and resort facilities overlay after owners said they hoped to redevelop the restaurant site as a condo-hotel with 88 units.
At the time, the 36-year-old landmark restaurant was to continue operations as part of the new use, but the project never went forward.
To redevelop the property as a supermarket, the town now has to reverse the 2006 rezoning and land use change, Queen said.
The town's planning and zoning commission will meet later this month to consider the proposed redevelopment.
The group's recommendation will then be considered by the Town Commission. No date has been set for that action.