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Bradenton waiting on loan finalization to build downtown retail plaza
[December 14, 2012]

Bradenton waiting on loan finalization to build downtown retail plaza

BRADENTON, Dec 14, 2012 (The Bradenton Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Manatee residents anticipating the completion of the Minnie L. Rogers Plaza and Retail Center near downtown Bradenton might have to wait a little longer.

A loan has yet to be finalized on the property, according to city officials, which has pushed back the permitting and leasing process.

The developer of the proposed shopping center, New Start Community Development LLC, of Birmingham, Ala., is still finalizing loan rates and terms for the $6 million retail center, said Tim Polk, executive director of the Bradenton Central Community Development Agency during a CCRA meeting Thursday.

Polk said once the loan is finalized, which he expects will be in January, a site plan will be submitted to the planning department, of which he also the director. It could take months, Polk said, until site plans are approved, a contractor is selected and construction is completed.

Though a loan is pending, 85 percent of tenants for the plaza has been leased, including a 16,000-square-foot Save-A-Lot grocery store. The grocery is to be located along First Street and 13th Avenue West, the site of the former 13th Avenue Community Center.

Polk would not release the names of the businesses, but said they are an array of retails shops and financial establishments. He said the plaza may include a cleaners, cable television or phone service provider, and a clothes and furniture store. Whether a restaurant will be included has yet to be determined.

The plaza can accommodate as many as eight businesses, excluding the grocery store, Polk said.

"We are looking and researching what we think will be the right kind of mix," Polk said.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held in October and members of the CCRA board expressed concerns the project is taking too long.

"I don't want to be sitting here in October of 2013 waiting for ground to be actually broken into," said Stephen Thompson, chairman of the CCRA.

"We've gotten people excited about it and they want to know what's going to happen next," said board member the Rev. Michael Walker.

Polk assured the board the city is ready to move forward once the loan is complete.

"The ball is in the developer's court," he said.

In other news Thursday, Polk proposed the CCRA board approve a motion to initiate negotiation with National Development Council for technical and consulting services to aid the CCRA in starting an economic development fund. The board did not field a quorum Thursday and scheduled and emergency meeting for Dec. 19 at noon.

Mike Kennedy, chief executive officer of CCRA-funded Suncoast Community Capital, announced plans of a one-stop financial stability center, which would offer income tax assistance, mircobusiness and personal financial coaching and readiness training.

Nick Williams, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams.

___ (c)2012 The Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Fla.) Visit The Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Fla.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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