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Kohl's center gets first city okay

A shopping center anchored by a Kohl's came one step closer to reality Tuesday when the City Council gave initial approval to a development agreement between the city and two private companies.

According to the site plan submitted by the Sembler Co., the Park Street Shopping Center would stretch across 22 acres on two parcels of land at Park Street, south of Sheen Drive.

A Kohl's department store will anchor the western portion of the center. Ross Dress for Less, a discount department store, also has committed to the project, said Sembler project manager Joshua Beyer.

Beyer said more national chains are on the way, but it is too soon to name them. There is space for three more businesses on the west side.

The eastern portion of the complex will contain space for up to four more businesses, called outparcels.

Senior city planner Sharen Jarzen said the development agreement is a mechanism providing for variances to standards otherwise required under the current zoning code.

The agreement, Jarzen said, gives the city creative leverage in planning the shopping center's architecture, including the following amenities:

- A landscaped parking lot with spaces for nearly 550 vehicles.

- Two additional stoplights on Park Street that will work in tandem.

- Addition of a new Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus stop on Park Street.

- Creation of a pond in the southwest corner of the proposed site to treat stormwater runoff.

The nearly $20-million project is expected to be completed by October 2007, Beyer said.

"We've worked very hard and very well with city staff for about the last six months," he said.

"The result of that collaboration has resulted in a well-planned, well-thought-out, and generally a superior project."

Pending the outcome of the final council vote Dec. 12, the land to be used would transfer from Essilor of America, an optical equipment manufacturer to the Sembler Family Partnership, an arm of the Sembler Co., the developer based in St. Petersburg.

"This is our first development agreement," said City Manager Frank Edmunds.

"As a result we had to learn our way a bit, but thankfully we were working with a quality developer that also wanted to do a quality project here in the city."

Casey Cora can be reached at (727) 392-2374 or at ccora@sptimes.com.

FAST FACTS

What's next

-The development agreement must be given final approval by the Seminole City Council, which is scheduled to vote on the matter Dec. 12.

-The agreement would then be sent to the county for recording, followed by the state Department of Community Affairs for approval.

-Sembler hopes to start construction by the end of this month, with an October 2007 completion date.

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