The City of St. Petersburg is accepting new proposals for the redevelopment of Tangerine Plaza, which once housed a Sweetbay supermarket and a Walmart Neighborhood Market. Residents living near the site, located at 1794 22nd St. S., were left without a neighborhood grocer when it closed a few years ago. The city bought the plaza after the Walmart Neighborhood Market closed in 2017.
The city was 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, an e-sports gaming business and retail; however, the city is now restarting the process and opening the floor to other developers after receiving a new proposal from Sugar Hill.
The Sugar Hill Group, whose partners include Louis Murphy, Roy Binger and New Urban Development, said it would build 115 affordable family housing units and 10,000 square feet of commercial or retail space.
“We are more focused on the residential component in the new proposal,” Binger said to the St. Pete Catalyst. The original proposal was more tailored toward commercial space, calling for 40,000 square feet of retail uses, including a grocer – a dire need for the South St. Pete neighborhood.
“With headwinds like inflation and a potential recession, we want to have 10,000 square feet versus 40,000,” he explained. The team isn’t exclusively seeking a grocer, but it is still open to a grocer taking control of the space or another user(s).
The Sugar Hill Group proposes to enter a 75-year ground lease with the city. Payment for the ground lease will be $1.5 million in the form of a capitalized lease payment. Sugar Hill would also have the right to negotiate the purchase of the city-owned land throughout the duration of the ground lease. The total development cost would be roughly $37.3 million, including debt, funding and equity. Sugar Hill would work with Red Stone Equity Partners to purchase up to $19 million of tax-exempt bonds to construct the property and provide permanent financing, according to a letter from Red Stone.
If the city selected Sugar Hill’s proposal, the residential unit mix includes 34 one-bedroom units, 58 two-bedroom units and 23 three-bedroom units.
The residential units will be leased to residents whose households earn 80% or below Average Medium Income (AMI). A portion of the total units will be earmarked for future residents whose AMI is low or very low (60% AMI and below), “creating a truly inclusive residential development plan for the Deuces community,” according to its proposal.
Binger also noted how Habitat for Humanity will be building affordable housing units across the street from the plaza site.
The commercial component of the development would be located adjacent to one of the residential buildings, designed to front 22nd Street S., enhancing the curb appeal of the site.
SHG will also commit to providing a green energy building that follows the Nation Green Building Code to minimize the carbon footprint and create sustainable, high-quality development.
SHG plans to utilize local Pinellas County bonds from the Housing Finance Authority paired with both state and city subsidies. The group plans to apply for affordable housing subsidies to support the Debt and Equity derived from the affordable units, including Penny for Pinellas funds.
New alternative proposals from developers wanting to undertake the lease, purchase or development of the site, must be submitted to the city by 10 a.m. on Aug. 17.