BRADENTON -- Construction has begun for the new Flowers Bakery on Ninth Street East.
Parent company Flowers Foods bakes and delivers popular brands like Wonder Bread, Cobblestone, Nature's Own and more, as well as snack pastries. The site will feature a new warehouse and distribution center, as well as a discount retail store in the 700 block of Ninth Street East.
"It will look like a throwback movie theater, like something you would see in Miami," said Planning and Community Development Director Tim Polk.
Flowers Food could not be reached for comment on a construction timeline or an estimate on how many local jobs would be created.
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In December, the city approved a special use application that freed the company to purchase the property from Central Plaza South LLC, which bought it for more than $1 million at the peak of the real estate bubble in 2006 from CSX Transportation. The Great Recession saw the 2.5 acres of unimproved property plummet to under $200,000, according to the Manatee County Property Appraiser's website.
The property sold in March for $450,000 to Flowers Food via its agent, Sage Bradenton LLC, and infrastructure work began last week. The discount store and office space will front Ninth Street East with the warehouse and distribution center located to the west side, Polk said. The site plan adheres to the city's form based codes and will feature a unique design to compliment the area, he added.
The 2.5 acres is zoned light industrial with a lumberyard, Tropicana and other distribution businesses nearby. City officials initially expressed concern at the potential increase
of truck traffic through the area. But Flowers Bakery delivery trucks are smaller in size and are on the road before significant morning traffic.
The conceptual site plan approved in December outlined 14,360 square feet in total, with 9,960 square feet devoted to the warehouse and 4,400 square feet of retail and office space.
The site is adjacent to 3.5 acres of vacant property that Polk said is being reserved for a workforce housing project. Bluesky Communities received tentative approval of a conceptual plan late last year to build a $17.7 million housing and retail complex on the site. The proposal calls for pursuing $13.5 million in federal tax credits -- a highly competitive financing process with a limited success margin -- to make the project happen and the property remains on the market.
Shawn Wilson, Bluesky Communities president and CEO, could not be reached for comment to see if his company's goals for the property are unchanged. But Polk indicated that the property is essentially being considered a future workforce housing project site.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.