ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — Local developer Stoneweg US is moving forward with plans to redevelop South St. Petersburg’s Coquina Key Shopping Plaza.
During a development review commission meeting Wednesday, committee members discussed the details of Stoneweg’s plan to level the plaza and create a mix of apartments and retail space. A representative for Stoneweg didn’t provide any update on a potential grocery store tenant, something the community has been pushing for.
In October, the developer stated they had been in talks with a grocer and hoped to get them on board. It wasn’t clear during Wednesday’s meeting if the plans had materialized with little talk of a grocery store as committee members mulled over the development plans.
According to preliminary plans, Stoneweg plans to build apartments on the site. The site plan also includes workforce housing and retail space.
Nearby residents have pushed back against the developer’s plans, saying the area is a food desert. In certain spots of South St. Pete, the closest grocery store is currently more than 3 miles away. The Coquina Key Plaza located on 6th St. S once housed the area’s only grocery store, a Save-A-Lot, but it recently closed its doors as the plaza fell into disrepair.
Residents are hoping for a new grocery store to open in the plaza and are pushing back against Stoneweg’s plan, saying they don’t want more apartments to go up without the resources to support the residents.
Plans are moving forward to put apartments & some smaller retail space at the site of the dilapidated Coquina Key Plaza in South St. Pete. But after one closed here, residents say what they need is a grocery store... and they feel like no one's listening.— Angie Angers (@angie_angers) January 5, 2023
My story @BN9 here -> pic.twitter.com/qJGmtGn3yJ
“For many people who live a little north of here who walk to stores, this is very, very difficult, and this is a crisis for them,” said resident Kathy Michaels.
During Wednesday’s meeting, committee members seemed on board with the redevelopment plan but understood the need for fresh food access in the area.
“The big talk about this has been the lack of a grocery store. But I think it’s more like a chess game here where Publix and the others aren’t coming in yet,” said committee member Chuck Flynt. “You have density issues, income issues, things like that. I think this is one step closer to putting some income level there and some density level there… towards being able to potentially move out of getting out of that food desert.
Flynt said he believes Stoneweg’s plan brings the area one step closer to being able to attract a major grocer like Winn Dixie, Aldi or Publix.
Spectrum Bay News 9 reached out to Stoneweg and has not yet received comment.