BRADENTON -- Cheers and applause erupted Wednesday from supporters of a grocery store near downtown Bradenton after the city commission voted 3-1 to approve its development.
I think this really fits the bill in many, many ways, said Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston.
He said he welcomed the project, which would be built at the vacant lot along 13th Avenue West and First Street, the former site of the 13th Avenue Community Center. Poston said it had been tough getting someone to invest in that area.
The project would include the grocery store and space for about eight other retailers.
Councilman Bemis Smith voted against the grocery store stating that he was not convinced the project was the most appropriate investment at this time.
My biggest problem is not with the dedication of the community, I appreciate what theyre doing, and I encourage everybody to fight for their community, Smith said. As a fiscal conservative I just dont believe that what we get here gets us the bang for the buck within the (Central Community Redevelopment Agency) ... Its nothing against the neighborhood.
Cary Neil, manager of New Start Community Development, LCC, told the city commission the project was estimated to cost about $6 million and once completed, would have an investment value of approximately $3 million.
The citys Central Community Redevelopment Agency would pay $45,000 to the developer for 10 years in incentives, according to the development agreement.
We are asking the city to contribute $45,000 a year for 10 years, which in turn we will create the tax on the property that we are estimating to be about $38,000 a year, Neil said. So, really its about $7,000 that we are asking the city for commitment on.
Commissioners added stipulations to the agreement noting that the developer would have to go before the council again if significant conceptual changes were required and if the store was not a Save-A-Lot store. At previous town hall meetings, the developer said he was negotiating with Save-A-Lot to bring the national chain into the neighborhood. But as of Wednesday night, a lease agreement had still not being signed.
Vice Mayor Gene Gallo asked that another stipulation be added, stating that if the grocery store failed, the city would no longer be committed to pay the incentives.
After all, he said, the specific purpose of the agreement was to have a grocery store in the neighborhood.
Please understand our community is depending on you to deliver, Councilwoman Marianne Barnebey told Neil.
Councilman Harold Byrd, Jr. said the stores would be a catalyst for economic development.
The project is expected to create about 60 temporary construction jobs and 25 long-term jobs.
Neil said he expected to break ground in August and to have the stores up and running by January 2013.
Councilman Patrick Roff was not present at the meeting.
This was much needed, said Ruby Byrd, who said lived about three blocks away from the site. This is a very positive thing for the community.
Miriam Valverde, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow on Twitter @MiriamValverde.