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Coquina Key Plaza project may bring housing, new grocer

Veronica Brezina

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Coquina Key Plaza. GoogleMaps.

The dilapidated Coquina Key Plaza, a St. Petersburg strip mall located near the corner of 6th Street S. and 45th Avenue, will be redeveloped into housing and potentially could introduce a new grocer to the neighborhood food desert. 

Stoneweg US, a St. Petersburg real estate investment company that purchased the 110,500-square-foot shopping center in a $7.23 million deal, previously said it has plans to convert the property into a mixed-use development with retail and workforce housing. 

The development group is now asking the City Community Planning and Preservation Commission (CPPC) to change the zoning for the Property from Corridor Commercial Suburban (CCS-1) to Corridor Commercial Traditional (CCT-1). This zoning change would allow a developer to build up to 150 feet high or 15 stories at that site. However, buildings in that area are limited to a maximum of 45 feet, thus in a proposed development agreement with the city, Stoneweg has agreed to restrict the buildings on the site to 75 feet.

The redevelopment plan of the 14.3-acre shopping center comes at a time when the area is in desperate need of housing and a grocer.  

The proposed development agreement does require Stoneweg to build a minimum of 20,000 square feet of retail with the hope of attracting a fresh food store, along with other retailers. 

Residents on the Coquina Key Neighborhood Association Facebook page voiced concerns about the height of the proposed building and that 20,000 square feet may not be large enough for a grocer; however, niche grocers such as Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Fresh Market operate stores within that footprint.  

“Here’s a developer willing to clean up the blight that is 4th St/6th St South,” ShaQuille Lashley, a realtor and real estate consultant with Barkett Realty, wrote on the page. “This development will breathe life into the neighborhoods within a 1-mile radius of it. If a grocery store is needed (which it is), then by all means herd up as a neighborhood and head to that meeting to advocate for it, but trying to shoot down this proposal because of your feelings about ‘height’ which doesn’t affect you in any way …” 

The city (CPPC) will be meeting on the zoning variance for the project July 12. If it receives approval, it will then go before the St. Petersburg City Council. 

Stoneweg is the same group developing the Lake Maggiore Apartments, which will be a housing community of 330 apartment units located between 6th Street S and M.L. King Jr. Street S. A decade ago, the vacant 14-acre property was the site of a mobile home park.

Out of the planned 330 units, 100 will be dedicated to workforce housing.

“Between the Coquina Key development which includes 465 apartments, and the Lake Maggiore project just up the street, with 330 apartments, Stoneweg will be adding more than 1,800 new residents to the area. According to the last census, the city of St Pete has a population density of 4,179 people per square mile. By this measure, these two projects will increase the population density in the area by 44%,” the Coquina Key Neighborhood Association wrote in its Facebook post about the development. 

“This Stoneweg plan will be dramatically increasing the population and simultaneously eliminating most of the retail space that would service those residents,” the post continued, sparking debate. 

Stoneweg declined to comment about the project at this time. 

A campaign was also started by an individual to halt the attempted rezoning of the plaza. 

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Sebastian

    July 1, 2022at4:49 pm

    Coquina Key residents complained when the Plaza had loud noise blaring throughout the night, gang fights and the occasional (or frequent) gun shots. All rightfully so complaints.. Now we have a developer who is willing to invest in this property that any normal person avoids. Then the complaints roll in about the proposed significant investment. The developer, like a grocery store, is in business for profit. If there was a true business case to build out speculated retail, then developer would likely do so. Most of the grocery stores in the Southside have closed their doors due to the clientele who steal. Tough pill to swallow for some to come to terms on that as the reason. If those businesses were profitable, whereas products didn’t walk out of their stores without payment, they would still be here. At some point, you need to assess the community and accept accountability on the part of the community as to why businesses avoid the Southside.

  2. Avatar

    Deborah Dean

    July 1, 2022at7:24 pm

    This area of our city does not have the required infrastructure to serve the proposed density. 2 blocks behind the shopping center along the bayou are already under water at high tide. There is insufficient drainage & sewer. The power grid in the area goes down regularly during storms & was down for an extended period during hurricaine Irma. What improvements are being put in place to remedy these ills?

  3. Avatar

    Kari

    July 3, 2022at8:36 am

    Thank you Sebastian for the voice of reason and reality check.

  4. Avatar

    Daniel

    July 4, 2022at6:17 pm

    I do agree with Sebastian, as sad it is in terms of reality of the desires. In a hopeful world, I’d personally like to see a full service grocery store in the Southeast area. #Publix. I’d agree that this could happen if the developer had interest from grocery stores to build a store. So rather be mad at the developer, reach out to grocery stores to see their interest, shame them if you must, or rather understand the root cause of the true problem with the market area or the community that runs them away from the Southside.

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