Richard Maltinos, property manager for Culby Properties South, LLC, said Tuesday, January 24 that he had just finished drafting letters informing tenants at five apartment units at 2901-2903 and 2905-2907 Beach Blvd. S. that they would have to move in a few months.
“I said it would probably be August before we would have to have those buildings vacated so we could demo them,” he said.
The undertaking, first proposed last summer, cleared a major hurdle January 17 when Gulfport’s Community Redevelopment Agency unanimously voted to give it the green light after reviewing residents’ concerns about lights, air conditioning units and use of the alley. The project meets all the city’s zoning, land use and waterfront redevelopment requirements; it received a variance for parking last June.
Mike Taylor, principal planner in the city’s Community Development Department, said Tuesday that the next step would be for Culby Properties to develop building plans and submit them to the city along with a building permit application.
The plans will be reviewed for compliance with zoning, building and fire codes – a process that takes about two weeks – and then the building permit will be issued.
“We look at it as a really nice development,” Taylor said. “We are hoping that people will take a look at this and possibly pattern future development based on what they’ve done.”
The project, on the southwest corner of Beach Boulevard S. and 29th Avenue includes a three-story structure with five commercial spaces on the ground floor and five apartments on the second. The third floor will house the offices of Culby Property South, which will relocate from St. Petersburg.
The first-floor footprint of the building will be around 4,500 square feet built in an L shape, including 2,900 for the commercial area and 1,300 for a garden, according to the site plan application.
Maltinos said it would probably take about three months to draft the building plans and get bids from contractors. The final budget has yet to be determined but “I’m sure it will be over a million dollars,” he said.
The developer is looking to attract businesses with a positive track record, including chains, he said, and is already encouraging prospects to inquire.
“We’re going to make sure that whatever company goes in there is a good company with an established reputation,” he said. “We’re not just going to put anybody in there.”
As examples of the type of chains that might fit the bill he cited Sunglass Hut or a chocolatier.
Eateries are not on the wish list.
“We don’t anticipate any restaurants going in there,” he said.
The tenants at the two existing 1937-built structures are being offered first dibs on the new apartments, but Maltinos said they would likely cost more than the tenants now pay. Four apartments will have one bedroom and the other will have two.
“The new ones will be a little more upscale than the current ones,” he said.
None of the tenants appeared to be home Tuesday when a reporter knocked on all the doors for comment.
This will be Gulfport’s first multi-use structure built from scratch and the first project Culby Properties will be building. The company, owned by Joe Culbertson III, also owns the Art Village Courtyard across the street from the proposed construction, a building at 2820 Beach Blvd. S. housing Reef Dog, and a 4-unit apartment building at 5320 29th St. S.