Group seeks to redevelop Largo East Bay Drive church site into commercial retail project

A preliminary site plan shows what a Safety Harbor developer could build on the site of a property owned by Our Savior Lutheran Church on East Bay Drive .

LARGO — The pandemic has slowed or even shuttered many businesses, but it doesn’t appear to be hampering redevelopment opportunities in Largo.

City commissioners unanimously approved a development agreement and three separate land-use amendments on Aug. 4, paving the way for three new projects.

4825 E. Bay Drive

A Safety Harbor developer is seeking to transform the property owned by Our Savior Lutheran Church on East Bay Drive into a commercial retail complex.

City commissioners unanimously approved a development agreement with Paradise Group LLC, which is under contract to purchase the 4.3-acre site east of Newport Road and west of Bedford Circle East.

They also approved a land-use change from institutional to residential /office/retail, which city officials say is more common along the heavily trafficked East Bay Drive.

The agreement would allow for redevelopment of the property, while restricting some uses, such as bars, nightclubs and gas stations.

A possible site plan submitted by the group shows the potential for three buildings — one 22,000-23,000 square feet, one 7,500-8,000 square feet, and one 3,500-4,000 square feet.

The developer also must coordinate with PSTA to design and construct an enhanced bus stop along the frontage of the property at East Bay Drive.

The site has an assessed value of just over $1.9 million and has been owned by the church since 1975, according to the Pinellas County Property Appraiser’s Office.

According to the city, the first church buildings on the property were constructed in the mid-1960s. The church campus expanded in 1975 and 1979, and again in 1988 with school and preschool uses added. Our Savior Lutheran Church also has a larger affiliate church and school campus in St. Petersburg.

2188 58th St. N.

The property owners are looking to raze an old 7-Eleven and build a larger, more modern one in its place along Roosevelt Boulevard.

“The existing 7-Eleven is dated, to say the least,” Planning Manager Rick Perez said.

The current convenience store, which was built in 1969, is also attached to Average Joe's Bar and Grill, he added.

“They (the applicants) want to separate from that building and create a more modern footprint for a 7-Eleven that would include a car wash,” he said.

The new store would also feature canopy-covered fueling stations.

In order to allow the project to move forward, commissioners voted 7-0 to change the land use from institutional to commercial general.

2050 58th St. N.

2050 Detox Investments LLC is aiming to redevelop a 5-acre piece of land west of 58th Street North and south of 164th Avenue North into single-family homes.

According to the city, the facility was recently used as a drug rehabilitation center but is currently vacant with no structures on site.

Commissioners approved the land-use change from institutional to residential low in order for the project to proceed.

Reducing fees

In order to stimulate economic activity in the city, commissioners also approved a resolution to temporarily reduce certain building construction and permit fees

From Sept. 1 through March 31, the fees will be reduced by 50%, and then by 25% until Aug. 31, 2021.

However, the fee reduction would only apply to projects with a construction value of greater than $12,000.