The Central Community Redevelopment Agency advisory board on Thursday recommended Beneficial Communities’ plan to build a grocery store and affordable housing on a vacant East Bradenton lot go to the city council for final approval.
It is meant to replace the abandoned Minnie L. Rogers project on the corner of First Street and 13th Avenue West that consisted of a Save-A-Lot grocery store with additional retail.
It’s been six weeks since the advisory board heard two presentations to bring the failed project back to life.
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The deadline to submit an application for federal tax credits that would help finance the deal is in November, but the CCRA advisory board gave Beneficial until Jan. 31 to submit a development and financing plan to the board for review.
Beneficial’s proposal calls for a grocery store and approximately 90 units of affordable housing. To pay for the $20 million project, Beneficial will need $15 million in tax credits. The process is very competitive and ultimately relies on a lottery system that selects about 20 projects a year out of an average of 200 submissions.
KC George, of the National Development Council, said while the project is proposed to be multi-use, “the primary focus and concern for the community is trying to deliver a grocery store.”
There’s a lot of housing being planned for Bradenton, but what’s being demanded and what’s needed for the CCRA is food access.
KC George, National Development Council
Beneficial was one of only two proposals that came in front of the CCRA after extending an invitation in June. Suncoast Community Capital submitted a unique proposal involving a community co-op concept that would not require tax credits. Officials felt the proposal was too much of an experiment.
For the residents in the area, it’s been 10 years of watching “coming soon” signs rust outside of a lot that is as empty as the promises the signs stated. For most of those years, the city was tied to a development agreement with Wisconsin-based Endeavor Corp.
Promises were made by Endeavor that the project was “shovel ready” and even though the company had qualified for $6.5 million in tax credits, it did not follow through. The project finally collapsed for good in January.