BRADENTON — A development company should have a national grocery store chain selected by the end of the year to inhabit the site of the former 13th Avenue Community Center, according to a city redevelopment official.
Sherod Halliburton, the executive director of the Central Community Redevelopment Agency, told the agency’s board Thursday that Sarasota-based Casto is negotiating with four grocery store chains before constructing a downtown store.
Once the selection is made and financing secured, the urban market could be open by 2012, he said.
“I would like to believe we can get this done in two years,” Halliburton said. “We have a year of putting the project together, identifying the funding sources, putting our equity in place, designing the project. It will probably take 12 months to build it out.”
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The CCRA obtained the land at 201 13th Ave. W., the corner of U.S. 41 and U.S. 301, in 2008. The 13th Avenue Community Center opened its new home, the Dream Center, at 922 24th St. E. in June.
Halliburton said his agency has identified several funding sources that could help the developer attract a chain.
Chief among them is New Market Tax Credits, a federal government funding mechanism that offers incentives for investments in underserved markets. Enterprise zone incentives also will be available, he said.
“We want to bring in these additional funding sources, which can allow this project to be very financially successful without the normal retail numbers that would be required,” Halliburton said.
The city selected Casto, which developed the Whole Foods store in downtown Sarasota, over another developer, Urban Design Solutions.
Also Thursday, the CCRA board agreed to formally request funds left over from a bridge and trail project at Norma Lloyd Park be returned by Manatee County, the project manager.
The CCRA committed $500,000 to the project, but bids came in at about $318,000. The CCRA will recoup half of the project cost from a state grant, but is hoping the county will return the $182,000 of additional funds.
“We did not budget having to commit the entire $500,000. ... We wanted the project completed, so we swallowed hard and committed the $500,000,” Halliburton said.
The project includes a quarter-mile multi-use trail and a pedestrian foot bridge.
Community Development Specialist Rebekah Brightbill told the board the project was scheduled to be completed by Sept. 30, but that revisions have caused a delay.
The CCRA hopes the project will be done by November, Halliburton said.