A local development firm’s modified plans for a much anticipated $124 million redevelopment project in South St. Petersburg received unanimous approval Wednesday afternoon.
St. Pete-based Stoneweg is transforming the dilapidated, 14.5-acre Coquina Key Shopping Plaza into a residentially focused mixed-use development. The firm received initial approval – despite concerns over a lack of a grocer and affordable housing in the area – in October 2022.
Stoneweg expected construction to commence in 2023. With the Development Review Commission’s recent blessing, the company now hopes to break ground later this year.
Commissioner Kevin Reali noted that he sat on the other side of the dais during the previous approval process. He said there was significant community feedback at the time, unlike Wednesday’s hearing.
“I would have preferred what was approved before over this,” Reali said. “But they’re not here, and it meets the code. The variations make sense to me.”
According to city documents, Stoneweg will now build nine four-story multi-family buildings rather than three at seven stories. The number of housing units will decrease from 465 to 456.
A development agreement with the City of St. Petersburg stipulates that Stoneweg must dedicate 20%, or 91 apartments, to local workers earning between 80% and 120% of the area median income. That equates to $69,500 – $104,280 for a four-person household.
Stoneweg also requested approval to build street-facing surface parking lots around the residential buildings. “There has been a shift from the original approval with all structured parking for the multifamily (units),” said Craig Taraszki, the applicant’s attorney.
The project still includes a centrally located parking garage. While the DRC approved property setback reductions, Stoneweg will provide 33.5 feet of open buffer space with connecting sidewalks and bike corrals.
The amenity area includes a pool and clubhouse and will bifurcate the one-story commercial building and residential units. Taraszki said the revised plans would meet the development agreement’s requirement to feature at least 20,000 square feet of retail space.
“It was a good project before, and it’s a good project now,” said Commissioner Darren Stowe. “There’s still a lot of green space, and I think it’s going to be very compatible.
“You look at what is there now, and those neighbors must … can’t wait for you to break ground.”
Dozens of residents opposed the project during previous city council meetings. One noted that Stoneweg planned to build 100 workforce units at the Lake Maggiore Apartments, another South St. Pete mixed-income development, which it reduced to 66.
The development agreement states that Stoneweg must make “commercially reasonable efforts to include a source of fresh food.” Taraszki noted there is also a city reporting component.
In October 2022, he told the city council that Stoneweg had a letter of intent from a potential grocer. He did not provide an update on those efforts at Wednesday’s meeting.
In September 2022, a Stoneweg leasing advisor told the city council that he held discussions with an organic-based grocer to utilize 3,500 of the development’s 20,000 square feet of commercial space.