The plans to bring a grocer and affordable housing to the dormant Tangerine Plaza may seem to have become stagnant – but the city is actively trying to seal the deal on it.
The City of St. Pete is in the process of negotiating a term sheet with prospective developer Sugar Hill Group LLC to open a grocery store in the shuttered plaza along with affordable housing, a 7,000-square-foot e-sports gaming business and retail.
Tangerine Plaza once housed a Sweetbay supermarket and a Walmart Neighborhood Market, which moved out in 2017. The city bought the plaza 1794 22nd St. S. after the Walmart Neighborhood Market closed. The city then sought out proposals for its redevelopment.
“We went through an RFP process and got several proposals and went through strengths and weaknesses and the mayor selected the Sugar Hill team’s proposal. We started the discussion-making progress, and then the pandemic hit, which slowed everything down,” St. Petersburg Development Administrator Alan DeLisle told the St. Pete Catalyst. “We are still negotiating on a couple of issues so it’s not completely resolved yet.”
The Sugar Hill partners are Roy Binger of Binger Financial Services in St. Petersburg, Rev. Louis Murphy Sr. of Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, and New Urban Development, the housing development affiliate of the Urban League of Greater Miami. Wannemacher Jensen Architects in St. Petersburg also is part of the project team.
DeLisle explained the retail component of the proposal has been stifled due to the uncertainties in the marketplace.
“We originally talked about some retail and that has been difficult because that element has not survived due to the pandemic,” DeLisle said. “We have been working from the premise that the community doesn’t want a big office there, they want affordable housing and a grocery store.”
The city’s market study found that the grocery store could be from 15,000-20,000 square feet.
Under Sugar Hill’s plan, Taste of the Islands, a locally owned grocery store, would occupy about 10,000 square feet at Tangerine Plaza, bringing a much-needed fresh food option to the area. The Tangerine Plaza site would be the grocer’s second location.
St. Pete mayoral candidate Robert Blackmon previously advocated moving St. Pete’s municipal services center from downtown to Tangerine Plaza.
The relocation of the municipal services building is moving forward, but it will be relocated to a city-owned parking lot on 2nd Avenue North.