The Sundial — a dining and shopping destination in downtown St. Petersburg — is set to be redeveloped this year.
Ally Capital Group, a Tampa-based real estate investment firm is partnering with Paradise Ventures, a St. Petersburg-based firm, to “reimagine” the shopping center as a mixed-used development, according to a news release.
The local architecture firm Behar and Peteranecz unveiled a new look for the Sundial, on the 100 block of Second Avenue North, which will feature multimillion-dollar improvements to revitalize the “once upscale retail destination into a modern mixed-use urban destination,” according to the release. The developers declined to say just how much the renovation will cost.
“We have a unique opportunity to create a centralized gathering and shopping space that can grow with our city,” said Mike Connor, president and CEO of Paradise Ventures in a statement. “A space that compliments the development landscape of St. Petersburg and that is a long term investment in the city.”
Plans for the center include significant upgrades to the courtyard with a large outdoor bar and communal green space.
“We’re dropping the courtyard down about 18 inches so you don’t have to walk up a hill when you go into it,” Connor told the Tampa Bay Times. “It will be much more visually appealing.”
Connor said they are searching for a fitness center or gym to fill a long-vacant space near the AMC. Several restaurants could be added to the northwest side of the property as well. All the current retailers plan to remain at the Sundial, aside from The Spice & Tea Exchange which is already in the process of moving out.
The developers are working with House of Current, an Atlanta-based branding and social agency on the project.
Paradise Ventures and Ally Capital Group purchased the Sundial from local businessperson Bill Edwards for $27.5 million last year. Edwards had owned the 85,357-square-foot shopping center since 2011, and made significant upgrades.
The shopping complex was originally built in 2000 and was called BayWalk. For years, it was a popular nightlife destination, with shops, restaurants and a movie theater drawing crowds every weekend.
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But the property struggled in the late 2000s. Then owner, CW Capital, blamed BayWalk’s woes on the anti-war protestors, loitering teenagers and homeless people who gathered on the public sidewalk in front of the complex. In a controversial 5-3 vote, City Council ceded control of the sidewalk to CW Capital.
Edwards purchased it for $5.2 million in 2011. He invested between $30 million and $40 million in remaking it — about what it cost to build in the first place — and added upscale restaurants like Ruth’s Chris and the gourmet grocery Locale Market.
Locale closed in 2019 to make way for a food hall from the developers of Tampa’s Armature Works. That project never materialized, leading to the developers filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last fall. Just before the pandemic, Edwards announced plans for a co-working space at Sundial. That didn’t materialize, either.
Infrastructure improvements will begin this spring, according to the release. The team hopes to finish improvements by the end of the year. In released renderings, the AMC movie theater and restaurant Sea Salt remain among the retail tenants.
“Placemaking is important, and the new Sundial is designed to be extension of the community,” said Andrew Wright, CEO of Ally Capital Group in a statement. “A place that enhances the city socially, economically and culturally. A space where celebrations are had, where business is done and where friends run into each other.”
Connor said his team had a pre-development meeting with the city and they are now waiting for their permit to be approved. If all goes as planned, work could begin by summer. The project will take around three to four months to complete.