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Seminole Council updated on projects
City manager talks about Bay Pines development, Seminole Mall and other projects
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Photo courtesy of CARA KANE
KB Home is building 56 single-family homes at The Cove at Bay Pines.
SEMINOLE – City Manager Frank Edmunds updated the City Council on various projects throughout Seminole at its May 27 meeting.

The Walmart supercenter being built as part of a commercial development across the street from the Bay Pines VA Hospital is nearing completion, he said. It will result in $8.5 million in tax revenues brought into the city, he added.

Mayor Leslie Waters said the Walmart manager told her that the store’s grand opening will be Wednesday, July 16 at 7:30 a.m., though she’s unsure if this is a tentative date.

Hiring for the store is underway and Walmart plans to hire 85 employees.

The site’s developer, KE Bay Pines Properties LLC, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and the city unveiled a new passenger shelter on the corner of Bay Pines Boulevard and 100th Way on May 23.

Named “The Mediterranean at Bay Pines,” the new bus shelter was designed by a local artist to complement the Mediterranean Revival Style of both the Bay Pines development project and the nearby VA hospital.

The new shelter was funded completely by transportation impact key monies from the developer, Edmunds said, so no citizen tax dollars were spent.

Other components to the Bay Pines development include 56 single-family homes to be built by KB Home, an eight-building apartment complex with 330 units to be built by Contravest, a hotel and more than 21 acres of additional retail space.

Construction of the apartment units is ongoing Edmunds said and will represent a $24 million tax base added to the city.

KB Home held the grand opening for The Cove at Bay Pines on Jan. 7. About 17 of the planned single-family homes are under construction, and the entire subdivision is nearly 50 percent sold out, said Cara Kane, senior director of Corporate Communications for KB Home. Floor plans range from 2,294 to over 3,000 square feet, she said, and home prices start at $330,000.

The Cove will represent a tax base of around $16.8 million for the city, Edmunds said.

Nothing is set for the 2-plus acre hotel site on the property, Edmunds said, but the developer is in discussions with several interested parties. And of the four retail outparcels, two of them will be unnamed restaurants, he said.

Edmunds also provided updates other major projects in the city:

• North American Development Group, the new owner of the Seminole Mall, has yet to bring a concept plan to the city, Edmunds said. But the developer, who has partnered with Primerica for maintenance, management and redevelopment of the site, has indicated it would like to apply for city permits by the end of 2014 and begin construction in 2015, he said.

Mayor Waters said she’d like better communication from NADG regarding the mall’s redevelopment.

“I would like to ask if there was any way for them to communicate with council a little better than they’re doing now,” she said. “I don’t see much communication. I don’t hear much. Everything is rumors … No one quite knows what’s going on and it’s an eyesore in the community. It’s rundown.”

She also said that she’d like to see upscale shopping and dining that would attract visitors from throughout the region.

“I want to see Seminole Mall be a destination,” she said.

Councilor John Counts disagreed. He said he’d prefer to see a development similar to The Shoppes at Park Place or the Largo Mall.

Seminole is “a transitory town,” he said. “People pass through on the way to the beach. It would be nice if people would stop and shop in our community as they pass through. The reality is in our part, the economy has shown that it can’t sustain higher-end restaurants and higher-end retail shops.

• The next step for Waterfront Park, located at 10400 Park Blvd., adjacent to Home Depot, is to grade the site, Edmunds said. The deadline for bids for the project is June 6.

A master plan will also be created based upon recommendations from a recreational advisory committee for the park. The park’s main use will be a kayak and canoe launch, for which the city has received $200,000 in grant money to construct.

This master plan will be used to obtain future grants, Edmunds said, though the city is appropriating $200,000 a year for the project for the next five years.

“It’s not a project that’s going to be completed next year,” he said. “It’s intended to be long-term.”

• Last month, the council approved a guaranteed maximum price for the Community Center project at City Park. The $2.5 million project will be funded by existing Penny for Pinellas money and a five-year bond. The center will include public rental space, a home for the Seminole Historical Society Museum and storage space for the city.

Biltmore Construction is ready to initiate the project, Edmunds said, and construction should start this month. It will be completed by February 2015.
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