LARG0 – The Walmart, Gateway North apartment complex and potential Wawa planned for the corner of Roosevelt Boulevard and U.S. 19 could describe a representative sample of the many development projects in the works in Largo.
On the opposite side of the city, the former Kmart at 990 Missouri Ave. is ready to be demolished. In its place, an 118,000-square-foot Walmart will be built to replace the existing store across the street. The company is securing a contractor for the project and will likely request demolition approval from the city of Largo in December, with construction to begin after that, said Teresa Brydon, Largo’s economic development manager.
But that’s just the beginning of projects announced for the corridor surrounding Missouri Avenue and Rosary Road.
“In the next two years, that whole area is going to be completely redeveloped, and it’s kind of exciting,” Brydon said. “It’s going to look really nice.”
On the north side of Rosary Road, L.A. Fitness is seeking approval of a new 41,000-square-foot building to replace the Publix at 1229 Missouri Ave. In fact, the entire plaza is set to get an updated facade designed to attract new tenants, with L.A. Fitness as the driver for the stores, Brydon said.
Kimco Realty, which owns the property Walmart is currently leasing on the south side of Rosary Road, has been talking with “a couple of new tenants” to fill the plaza and soon-to-be-vacant space.
On the northeast corner of Missouri Avenue and Rosary Road, Wawa is seeking approval for another location at 1215 Missouri Ave. The only unoccupied space in that corner will be the property behind the potential convenience store and gas station, a space which Brydon said won’t remain vacant for long.
“They’re going to have a very good chance of being able to put a tenant on the footprint … with all the new retailers that are coming into that immediate area,” Brydon said.
To facilitate development, the city has been working with Walmart to improve its side of Rosary Road with sidewalks and “serious landscaping,” designed to make the roadway more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, Brydon said. The city will be encouraging developers on the centers on the other side of the road to do the same.
The city of Largo is waiting to hear back from the developers of Ulmerton Crossings, a 12,510-square-foot retail plaza.
Brydon said Carlos Yepes of Belleair Development Group was working on developing the entire footprint of the block at the southwest corner of Ulmerton and Starkey roads. New tenants for the plaza have not been confirmed, but Yepes is “aggressively trying to pick up another restaurant,” she said.
A 3,750-square-foot bank is slated for the corner of the plaza. Another Wawa has been approved within the block, at 9010 Ulmerton Road. An 118,000-square-foot Walmart Neighborhood Market will be built at 9020 Ulmerton Road.
Brydon credited recent development in the area, including the new Thorton’s at 8875 Ulmerton Road, to the road modifications of the major roadway.
“We do see that having that intersection completed and developed … just helps with the rest of the community in that area,” she said. “We’re redeveloping the corners now. We’ll continue to see the impact of those redevelopment projects in (the) future.”
The owner of the parcel north of Thorton’s, for example, is waiting for improvements to the sewer infrastructure, tied in with the road project, before redeveloping, she said.
The entire Ulmerton Road project won’t be finished until 2015.
Another large factor in the development of the area will be the relocation of Great Bay Distributors, at the northwest corner of the intersection of Starkey and Ulmerton roads. The company has outgrown the space and will be consolidating its Largo and north county locations to an industrial property in north St. Petersburg.
“Our expectation is in the next five to 10 years, that entire site will be available for redevelopment as well,” Brydon said.
The city doesn’t know if the company planned to sell or lease its property.
“It’s unfortunate that they had to leave. At the same time, there was no place for them to grow in that location,” Brydon said. “We look forward to working with them.”
New housing to be built
A housing complex called Bayside Townhomes, to be built at 15400 Roosevelt Blvd., is seeking approval with the development review committee. The property, just off Bayside Bridge, used to be a mobile home park and has been vacant a long time, Brydon said. Largo recently annexed the property, to be developed into 93 townhomes.
Construction has already begun on three other housing projects. Two are very similar. The Seasons of Belleair, at 1704 Clearwater-Largo Road, and the Seasons of Largo, at 4175 East Bay Drive, will both be 80-bed assisted living facilities.
Construction on Pinellas Heights, a 154-unit senior housing complex, is ahead of schedule, Brydon said.
“Their exceptions are to be open probably in April,” she said.
Projects set for construction include the property at 12022 Indian Rocks Road, to be redeveloped into a new Publix and a Family Dollar at 705 Eighth Ave. SW. A new Chase Bank is being designed for the West Bay Drive redevelopment area.
A couple of businesses in the city are expanding their operations. Tech Data wants to build a new 46,800-square-foot office building on its existing campus.
“It’s great to have their headquarters expanding in Largo,” Brydon said. “They’re kind of bursting at the seams.”
The Clearwater Ice Arena, 13940 Icot Blvd., Barley Mow Brewing Company, at 140 Sixth St. NW., and Metro Storage at 13100 66th St. are all renovating their properties with small construction projects.
The Sheriff’s Office administration building and emergency operations center, currently under construction at 10750 Ulmerton Road, is part of the redevelopment of the Seminole Boulevard corridor, south of the Ulmerton intersection.
“That’s going to be a huge plus for us,” Brydon said.
In fact, the sale of Twedt’s Bowling Center was likely prompted by that project, she said. While the new owners of the property have yet to submit plans to the city for the new retail mall, Brydon said they have secured the interest of a few restaurants and stores.