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Retailers steer way to BayWalk garage

Six shops will begin opening this summer on the ground floor, offering coffee, bread, eyewear, real estate, decor and frozen treats.

By SHARON L. BOND

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 28, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Construction begins this week on the six retail shops signed for the ground floor of the BayWalk garage, with openings expected this summer.

Joining Starbucks in the BayWalk Mid-core Shops will be Atlanta Bread Co., a restaurant and bakery; Being, a decor store; Century 21 Sunshine Realty; the Optical Store; and TCBY, which sells frozen yogurt treats.

BayWalk, the $40-million entertainment and retail complex, opened officially in November with Muvico's 20-screen theater release of the holiday movies. Restaurants and shops that didn't make the November date opened in the weeks and months afterward. Now, the noticeable empty spot at BayWalk proper is the space that was to house BayWalk Booksmiths. That deal fell through. The Sembler Co., BayWalk's developer, is negotiating to fill it.

The city of St. Petersburg built the seven-floor parking garage one block south of BayWalk. The ground floor is undeveloped retail and office space.

Starbucks, the Seattle-based brewer, announced last week it would open its coffee shop in late summer in the BayWalk Mid-core Shops. It will have 18 seats inside and 16 outside. The shop will be in a corner space facing west.

Century 21 Sunshine Realty will front Second Street N. Douglas McPherson, broker and president of the corporation, said the office will have a mortgage company, title service and residential and commercial real estate services. About 20 people will work there.

"We're on Clearwater Beach and in Palm Harbor now," McPherson said. "We want to be part of downtown."

An average sale for this Century 21 was in the $220,000 to $230,000 range last year, McPherson said. He expects to do better in downtown St. Petersburg.

The first Atlanta Bread Co. opened in Pinellas County last year in the Curlew Crossing Shopping Center in north Pinellas. BayWalk marks the second in Pinellas for owners Don Baruch and Steve Rogers.

"It will have a European cafe look and an almost bistro feel to it," Baruch said. "Ninety items are baked every night so everything is fresh. What we don't sell, we give to charity."

The restaurant sells sandwiches, salads, soups, breads and pastries. Its spot in the BayWalk Mid-core Shops faces south on First Avenue N.

TCBY sells frozen yogurt, sorbets, ice cream and a variety of toppings. The BayWalk Mid-core shop will also sell Mrs. Fields Cookies. The company has been in business for 20 years and has 3,000 locations across the United States and in 70 foreign countries, according to its Web site.

Details on Being Inc. and the Optical Store were not immediately available.

The garage has 25,000 square feet of space on its east side that can be used for retail or office space, plus another 10,000 square feet facing out on the arcade area where BayWalk patrons walk from the garage to the complex.

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