ST. PETERSBURG — Years after a popular gay resort closed and its property was sold to Home Depot, the empty, weed-strewn site is about to be developed.
Phillips Development & Realty, which expects to close on the parcel in December, has unveiled plans for a $70 million mixed-use project that will include 300 apartments and about 15,000 to 25,000 square feet of retail space, including a restaurant.
The Tampa firm submitted its site plan to the city Monday. The St. Petersburg Development Review Commission is expected to consider it in January. Glen Stygar, an executive with Phillips Development, said work on the 9-acre property on 34th Street — between 30th and 32nd avenues S — will begin in late spring or early summer next year.
The project has brought another burst of good news to the fledgling Skyway Marina District, which has seen slow but steady progress toward its goal of redeveloping the area adjacent to waterfront neighborhoods and near Eckerd College and southern Pinellas County beach communities.
"It's exciting. I think it's going to be really good for our area," City Council member Steve Kornell said.
He is particularly pleased that the plan includes a restaurant.
"It will be nice to have more options for dining without having to drive out of my neighborhood completely," Kornell said.
Development of the property has been anxiously awaited. It was back in 2007 that a co-owner of the Suncoast Resort announced plans to sell to Home Depot. But the reportedly $27 million redevelopment never happened, an apparent victim of the economic downturn.
Four-story apartment buildings will now rise on the site, along with a climate-controlled storage facility. Courtyards and a "lazy river" — a shallow, artificial body of water where people will be able to float and described by Stygar as "really popular in student housing" — will be among the development's amenities. Also planned are a pool, fitness center, dog walk and sand volleyball court. Phillips Development has also asked the city to extend its trail system through the property, Stygar said.
The one-, two- and three-bedroom units will be marketed to millennials and active retirees, he said.
"It is very convenient to the beaches. It is very convenient to downtown St. Pete. And it's very convenient to 275 to downtown Tampa," he said.
As the first mixed-use project in the Skyway Marina District, the project could be eligible for up to $1 million in city incentives. Gary Jones, a senior planner in the city's economic development department, said the funding would have to be approved by the City Council and could come in the form of improvements such as the requested trail extension and traffic signals at 30th Avenue S and 34th Street.
Phillips Development also hopes to secure a $50,000 incentive for the operator of its planned restaurant.
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"At this point, they look to be in line to receive that incentive," Jones said. "The money will go to any sit-down, full-service restaurant that is 5,000 square feet or greater and is open for lunch and dinner, with a full liquor bar and is open seven days a week."
The money will only be paid after the restaurant opens, Jones said.
The district, which runs along 34th Street, from 30th to 54th avenues S, and serves neighborhoods such as Maximo Moorings, Broadwater, Pinellas Point and Lakewood Estates, is also about to get another new sit-down restaurant.
Kristen Moore, spokeswoman for the Brixmor Property Group, which owns the Bay Pointe Plaza shopping center off 34th Street — where extensive renovation is almost complete — said Japanese Hibachi & Sushi will open next to Sally Beauty Supply in space once occupied by Diamonds Direct. No opening date has been set. This Friday, though, a new Pet Supermarket will open in the shopping center, while the rebuilt Publix is set to open on Dec. 1.
Other Skyway Marina District projects include a $20 million redevelopment of the decades-old Maximo Marina.
Contact Waveney Ann Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.