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City council approves amendments paving the way for Sundial deal

Veronica Brezina



A rendering of the Sundial. Image: City of St. Petersburg.

The St. Petersburg City Council approved parking amendments at the downtown Sundial, allowing businessman Bill Edwards to move forward with selling the shopping center. 

Edwards, who has owned the 85,357-square-foot retail and dining center since 2011, is under contract to sell it to Safety Harbor-based Paradise Ventures for $27.5. The deal is expected to close on Feb. 17, but before they can execute a deal, changes were needed relating to the parking situation. 

On Thursday, the council unanimously approved amending the city’s parking agreement with Edwards’ company, Loan Ranger Management, and transferring the employee parking and the pedestrian corridor to the new owner. Since September, the city staff has been working on the terms of the amendments with the involved parties. 

Per the agreements, Edwards would continue to be responsible for the security of the Sundial Garage. 

Today, the shopping center’s tenants include Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Chico’s, White House Black Market, Tommy Bahama, Diamonds Direct and the Man Cave barbershop, according to the Sundial’s website. 

“It was a dilapidated shopping center and I turned it,” Edwards said to the councilmembers about the journey of the center. “It’s bittersweet to be doing this and I’m happy knowing it’s going to be in good hands and [Paradise Ventures will] continue the legacy of the Sundial, which has become a landmark. This is something that’s [arisen] the right time with young blood, new money and good operator. I think this is a deal made in heaven.” 

The sale doesn’t include the AMC Sundial 12 movie theater. However, a representative of the chain theater attended the meeting due to any parking changes through the new Sundial ownership that may affect AMC. 

Councilmember Ed Montanari applauded Edwards on his efforts of transforming Sundial. 

“I wanted to thank all the parties involved, and I wanted to thank Edwards. The [former] Baywalk shopping center was in very poor shape when you acquired it, and you put a lot of time money effort into making that a first-class venue. 

“It’s been wonderful to see how everything turned around. It’s one of the things in our city renaissance. We would be remiss if we didn’t thank you,” Montanari said. 

Councilmember Richie Floyd said he was grateful to see that the shopping center will continue to function as an entertainment destination, rather than becoming a housing development or becoming intended for other uses. 

There are several large vacancies at Sundial that the buyer, Paradise CEO and President Michael Connor, said he hopes to fill with new restaurants and office tenants. 

“I thought about [redeveloping] it for sure. After spending a lot of time there and digesting it, I feel like this still has legs. I do retail development and there’s not a great central location in downtown St. Pete. This could be the beginning of that, and we could hopefully get the pieces around it and create more of a central destination,” Connor previously told the St. Pete Catalyst. “There’s more density coming in and we want to create a magnet.”

Paradise Ventures has an invested interest in St. Petersburg as it owns the 695 Central building, which it bought in late 2019 and renovated. 

The firm is also relocating its headquarters from Safety Harbor to St. Pete. 

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