BRADENTON -- Save-A-Lot has signed a letter of intent to lease about 16,000 square feet of property near downtown Bradenton for a new grocery store, a city official said Wednesday.
"This was one of the major steps," said Tim Polk, Bradenton's director of planning and community development, about the upcoming development project approved by the Bradenton City Council in March.
Save-A-Lot's initial lease term will be for 10 years, with four five-year renewal options, according to the letter.
The grocery store and approximately eight other businesses are expected to be built along First Street and 13th Avenue West, the site of the former 13th Avenue Community Center.
"It was great news that they came forward with the agreement with Save-A-Lot," said Councilman Harold E. Byrd, Jr., who represents the area. "This paves the way for the rest of the project to move forward, and we can get on to providing economic development and jobs for the community."
Byrd said having Save-A-Lot as the anchor in the project was "pivotal," because it would provide fresh, quality food to the community and
"The next step is to pull together the financials and make the deal work," Polk said.
A late August or early September deal closing date was expected, he said, and construction would probably start about 30 days after that. The city had not been notified of what other companies or retailers would be accompanying the grocery store, Polk said.
The Central Community Redevelopment Agency was putting together a task force that would find a way to memorialize the site's history, he said. Throughout the years, the 13th Avenue West location served as a nursery school, youth center and a central social gathering place for the black community.
Byrd said he attended the nursery school and youth center at the site.
"Many of us have memories there," he said.
Miriam Valverde, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow on Twitter @MiriamValverde.