BRADENTON -- A deal to buy the land for the Minnie L. Rogers Plaza and Retail Center in Bradenton, which will feature a Save-A-Lot grocery store and other retailers, should close in 60 days, Bradenton officials said Thursday.
The land, valued at $745,000, will be transferred by the Central Community Redevelopment Agency to New Start Community Development of Birmingham, Ala.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed shopping plaza on First Street and 13th Avenue West was held last October but funding difficulties delayed construction.
Tim Polk, executive director of Bradenton's CCRA, said many more people have signed leases since then to operate in the plaza.
"Since the groundbreaking, a lot has gone on," Polk said.
When construction is complete, the 3.5-acre site will be anchored by a 16,000-square-foot Save-A-Lot grocery store. Other retailers known to be coming to the shopping plaza include the Five Star Rental furniture store and a local day care and barber shop.
The plaza is projected to cost $7 million to build and up to 10 months to complete, said Polk.
Polk could not give an exact date on when construction would start; however, he said city officials will conduct a development review and begin the permitting process during the closing period.
Polk said the city commissioned a nine-member ad hoc committee to help name the plaza. A bus stop near the plaza will be dedicated to Mary Ruth Dunbar, who lived in the Rogers Gardens public housing complex. Due to the site's historical significance, Polk said the state of Florida is recognizing it as a historical landmark.
The site once housed the West Bradenton Woman's Club and 13th Avenue Youth Center -- past social hubs for the African-American community.
Rebekah Brightbill, Community Redevelopment Agency manager, said the project will bring temporary and permanent jobs to the area.
"We're estimating 58 construction jobs and 28 full-time jobs for the retail," said Brightbill.
Lynette Edwards, CCRA board
member and long-time resident, said this project is important to the board.
"It's been a priority for this board to try and get this in place and we've been working with various partners to do so," said Edwards. "Funding has been the holdup. Once we have everything confirmed, then we'll be able to move forward with the project."
She said the main focus is to supply area residents with needed services. "This is something that the community said they wanted quite a long time ago," Edwards said. "They want to see a particular grocery store in that area."
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.