Sugar Hill development group reveals plans for Tangerine Plaza revitalization

On April 9, the Sugar Hill Group announced its plans to bring at least 115 affordable housing units with an average of 80 percent median income and a 10,000-square-foot grocery store to the empty Tangerine Plaza site. Left, Pastor Louis Murphy and Roy Binger of Sugar Hill Group.


ST. PETERSBURG — In 2017, Walmart closed its neighborhood market at Tangerine Plaza, and the 40,000-square-foot building has remained empty ever since, creating what the federal government calls a food desert.

On Tuesday morning, the Sugar Hill Group and partner New Urban Development out of Miami announced that they would bring 115 affordable housing units and a 10,000-square-foot grocery store to the plaza, where Walmart continues to pay rent to the city. However, any plans to secure a store are impossible without ownership of the site.

Artist rendering of what Sugar Hill Group’s 115 affordable housing units would look like.

“It’s hard for you to sell something that’s not yours,” said Rev. Louis Murphy, a partner with the Sugar Hill Group. “You can’t negotiate the sale of your house if you don’t own your house. We don’t own this until we have site control, and we hope that we are there. Then, we can really start serious negotiations with some of the tenants that we have been in contact with. But we are excited about the ones that we’ve spoken with.”

The Kriseman administration chose the Sugar Hill Group to redevelop the site right before the pandemic, but plans were not formalized. Fast forward almost five years later, and another administration, residents are still without fresh food or affordable housing.

During the city’s March 24 Economic and Workforce Development Committee meeting, Mayor Ken Welch said he supports Sugar Hill’s plans, but Councilwoman Gina Driscoll was not sold on the group’s ability to secure a reputable long-term store or the timeline for completion.

“When we’ve been looking for an answer to this property for seven years already, it’s hard for me to get on board with something that might take seven more years before we even see something real happening here,” she stated.

Roy Binger, with Sugar Hill, said they hope to present something to the city council within the next month so they can formally ask for site control. If their proposal is approved, the group’s next step would be to put together a financial package. He said the project could cost between $25 and $30 million.

Real estate firm Stoneweg US, which is redeveloping Coquina Key Plaza, and Positive Impact Ministries submitted bids to purchase and revitalize the site; however, Sugar Hill remains in negotiations with the city.

2 Replies to “Sugar Hill development group reveals plans for Tangerine Plaza revitalization”

  1. Chris Clement says:

    Maybe sell local produce from garden groups in the area.

  2. Lynn says:

    It’s time to cut ties with Sugar Hill after 5 years of no forward movement. In the meantime our residents are going without. There have been other offers of purchasing and developing. Let’s move on and work with a group that are outcome oriented and get that grocery store open. It’s painful to watch our residents be harmed all because the city is in a trance with Sugar Hill. It’s painful to hear time after time that there still is nothing moving forward with Sugar Hill. This article reports that there still is nothing to report. In three months they will have a plan??? How many times have we heard there is a plan coming and then nothing. Wake up city and move on.

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