The St. Pete developer wants to turn the strip mall into housing. Some neighbors are worried.

Plans are underway to turn a former strip mall in St. Petersburg into a mixed-use development with rent-stabilized apartments.

Local real estate investment firm Stoneweg bought the Coquina Key Mall, located at 4350 Sixth St. S, for $7.3 million last year.

According to plans submitted to the city, Stoneweg will build 458 apartments, 20% of which will be reserved for tenants who earn between 80% and 120% of the neighborhood median income. This represents between $65,700 and $98,520 for a four-person household in Pinellas County.

Facilities will include a swimming pool and dog park. There will also be 21,000 square feet of retail space.

Kyle Parks, a spokesperson for Stoneweg, said he was using private sources of funding to build this project and would not receive government grants or tax credits. The developer will use the city’s Workforce Housing Density Bonus Program to maximize the number of units allowed.

“Our goal with the Coquina Key redevelopment is to create positive change in the community without disrupting it,” said Sharmane Bailey, associate director of corporate communications at Stoneweg. “Our hope is to provide a quality product that brings workforce housing to the community, supports local small businesses, and encourages other developers and retailers to invest in this area of ​​St. Petersburg.”

More than 75 people submitted public comments to the city about the proposal. Some neighbors criticized the project through a online petition.

A point of contention is the height of the development, which will reach seven stories at its peak. Current zoning restrictions allow a maximum of four floors. Stoneweg asks the city to change the zoning accordingly.

Only part of a building will reach seven floors, according to the developer’s plans. Parks explained that the tallest part of this building will be in the center of the property so it doesn’t tower over nearby single-family homes.

Neighbors also raised concerns about the lack of a large grocery store that could replace the Save-a-Lot that once stood on the mall. The mall also previously had a CVS pharmacy.

“This zoning change will allow Stoneweg to significantly increase the population of the area, while significantly reducing the retail space needed to serve this population,” wrote Walter Borden, president of neighboring Bahama Shores Neighborhood Association. , in a public comment to the city. . “Closing the area’s only grocery store and not replacing it leaves the community and its new tenants in a food desert.”

Parks said Stoneweg had contacted more than 15 supermarket chains, but none had expressed interest in renting space at the property.

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“We continue to try to find a smaller local grocer to fill one of the allocated retail spaces,” he said in an email. “In total, we would like to secure 6-7 additional vendors providing quality supplies and services to the community.”

Stoneweg will present its proposal to the St. Petersburg Community Planning and Preservation Committee on Tuesday. The project must also receive approval from the development review board and the city council.

If all goes as planned, construction should begin this fall.

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