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Here’s what Tangerine Plaza could look like

Megan Holmes



Tangerine Empty
The largest retail space of the city-owned Tangerine Plaza, once the site of full-service grocers Sweetbay and Walmart, has sat empty for more than four years. File photo.

The troubled times of Midtown’s Tangerine Plaza could finally be over, if one of six proposals submitted to the City of St. Petersburg in response to its formal request for proposal pans out.

In late April, the City released its request for proposals (RFP), seeking to redevelop the site within the boundaries of the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area and the Deuces Live Historic Main Street. The site has seen two major grocery stores open and close since 2005.

Read our previous coverage here.

By the July 2 deadline, six proposals by six teams were submitted to the city. Each proposes a different future for the retail center. The standard retail options remain in two of the proposals, but four propose out-of-the-box ideas to upgrade this box store to something Midtown has yet to see. Ideas range from an innovative non-profit structure to an affordable housing haven, to entertainment options like an indoor skating rink or an indoor farmer’s market and athletic complex.

The six proposals are as follows:

Sugar Hills Farmers Market & Food Court

The concept: The proposed market and food court – named for the Sugar Hill district in Harlem, known during its Renaissance for the wealthy African American community members who lived there – would replicate trending designs seen in cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Columbus. The latest example is Tampa’s booming Heights Public Market, a 22,000 square foot cafeteria-style space with open seating, located inside of the historic Armature Works.


Phase I of the proposal would redevelop the existing space of Tangerine Plaza’s 39,079 square foot grocery space to a similar “marketplace” design with nearly double the size. Phase II would include revitalization of the remainder of the shop space in the plaza, to suit new and existing tenants. Phase III would bring the construction of an additional 16,500 square foot commercial space to be used as a fitness space.

The team: Father-son duo, Rev. Louis M. Murphy, Sr. (Pastor of Mt Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church since 1999) & Louis M. Murphy, Jr. (former professional athlete & coach), Roy Binger of Binger Financial (Binger was been instrumental in efforts around Midtown and USF, and was part of the team that brought the sale $205 million sale of Bayfront Medical Center, Ernest Coney, Jr. CDC of Tampa’s President and CEO, Jason Jensen & Everald Colas of Wannemacher Jensen.

Financials: The team proposes a 30-year lease with purchase option after three years. The lease would be at a rate of $1 per year and purchase option at $750,000, minus $25,000 in purchase price for each permanent, full-time job created at a living wage.


Blue Sky Affordable Housing Development

The concept: Blue Sky proposes the full demolition of the current structures on the Tangerine Plaza site, in order to build a brand new mixed-use affordable housing development. The design would include multifamily apartment units and set aside 10,000 square feet for a “non-chain” grocery store and office space.

The team: Blue Sky Communities, LLC is a Tampa, Florida based affordable housing development company with deep roots in Florida. Named one of the top 50 developers in the US, they’ve developed over 1,000 affordable housing units in surrounding cities like St. Petersburg, Tampa, Brandon and many others.

Financials: Fee simple through two contracts. Residential purchase: $1,800,000 with a deposit of $50,000. Commercial purchase: $65,000 with a deposit of $5,000. The team is also open to a lease agreement.


A grocery store, department store, seafood restaurant, office space and community resource office

The concept: This proposal would redevelop the current build of Tangerine Plaza, and split the big box space. A grocery store would take up about 15,000 square feet, a department store would take 21,579 square feet, a seafood restaurant would take 2,500 square feet, and 8,311 square feet would be allocated for a Community Resource Office for the city and local office space.

The team: The Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, inc. Ernest Coney, Jr. serves as the group’s President & Ceo. This is the second proposal that Coney, Jr. would be attached to. Additional team members include Frank Cornier, CDC’s VP of Real Estate Development, and local dentist Mendee Ligon, DDS.

Financials: 30-year lease and redevelopment agreement with option to purchase. Rent would be $10,000 per month, starting one year after commencement date of the contract. Purchase option could commence after three years, with a purchase price of $2,600,000 less rent already paid. The team would provide a total of $1,200,000 for renovations, including $200,000 toward renovation cost in dividing the main grocery space, $400,000 for each component’s new tenants and renovations, and an additional $200,000 for parking lot renovation.


TCII Capital Group Redevelopment 

The concept: TCII proposes to “reactivate” the Tangerine Plaza property as it is. The group would retain local shops that are current tenants of the property and solicit both local and national tenants like “grocery, fitness, soft goods, medical and discounters.” TCII would intend to lease the “big box” portion of the building as a whole, or partition it into two parts.

The team: TCII Capital Group LLC, Jason Glaser, John Strzalka, Marc Lewin.

Financials: Forty-year lease at an initial rate of $100,000 per year with option to purchase for $2,000,000. Both the lease rate and purchase price would increase by five percent every 10 years.


United Against Poverty

The concept: A one-stop-shop non-profit service provider that currently serves Orlando, Vero Beach and Fort Pierce. United Against Poverty’s holistic services include four main programs: Member Share Grocery Program, Workforce Development Program, Education Program and Crisis Stabilization Program. The Member share grocery would provide low-cost nutritious food options for low-income households, subsidized up to 65 percent. Using national best practices, the organization would partner with corporations to make use of unused goods from supermarkets and other stores.

The team: United Against Poverty is a 501(c)3 organization that provides holistic services to fight poverty. It is already operating in three locations in Florida. According to Dr. Robert Lupton, author of Charity Detox, “By any objective measure United Against Poverty is moving the poverty needle better than anyone else in the country.” The organization measures progress of participants through two objectives: “1. Increasing a family’s household income above 100% federal poverty level (above abject poverty). 2. Increasing a family’s household income to above 200% federal poverty level (economic self-sufficiency).”

Financials: United Against Poverty would pay $1 per year in rent, and be conveyed the property after five years.


United Skates of America Indoor Skating Rink

The concept: United Skates of America proposes converting the Tangerine Plaza grocery story space into a Roller Skate Rink and Family Fun Center. The rink would include skate rentals, a Pizza Cafe, an arcade and private party rooms. Services and programs would include fundraisers, STEM field trips and programs, school programs, camps and skate lessons.

The team: United Skates of America operates 19 skating rinks across the country. It owns and operates 14 of those facilities and manages five of them under municipal contracts like the one they are proposing to the City of St. Petersburg.

Financials: United Skates of America is proposing a management agreement with the City of St. Pete. Management services would be fixed at $6,250 per month, plus 5% of gross revenue. The first year’s management fees would be waved to contribute to the build and equipment needed to open the facility.

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1 Comment

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    Sue Neville

    July 16, 2018at6:24 am

    Meghan,this article caught my eye as my former construction company was a part of the initial build of Tangerine. It was heart breaking to see it’s decay. I am delighted at the prospects for this project.

    When I read the byline I was proud to say I know this woman.

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