Walkable neighborhoods have always helped bring life to urban centers. Millennials, or people born between 1980 to the early 2000s, tend to favor more urban environments than their predecessors. These Generation Y'ers are bringing rapid growth to once decaying urban centers. But, millennials have needs- they prefer to live in neighborhoods where they don't have to use a car and can walk to a majority of their errands. The University Village shopping center in Downtown St. Petersburg has helped ease the millennials in their transition from suburban to urban living. Anchored by Publix, among other retailers, this shopping center is the only grocery store in the downtown area.
But could Downtown St.Petersburg be getting a second grocer?
According to renders of the currently under construction The Shops of St.Pete it appears like that could happen. The renders of the shopping destination formerly known as Baywalk show a "Market" in the northwest corner of the development. And while the render could be purely speculative it shows the space being a two-story unit capable of holding a small market grocer.
Back in 2012 there was a rumor that Whole Foods was looking at opening a Downtown St. Petersburg location in the parking lot of the current Synovous Bank building (333 3rd Ave N). But since then the proposed American Crafts Museum has chosen that property as the location for its future museum.
This leaves me wondering, is Whole Foods still interested in Downtown St.Petersburg? And if so, why not The Shops at St.Pete? I'm sure The Edwards Group, the owners of The Shops, have looked into prospective tenants for that space, but if not they should reach out to Whole Foods. A second downtown grocery store would greatly enhance downtown as a shopping and living destination and would be a great asset to residents.