Developers unveil future plans for Sundial property in downtown

Developers unveil future plans for Sundial property in downtown

A rendering of the Sundial
Rendering via Tampa Bay Business Journal/Ally Capital

Since downtown’s Sundial was sold last February, speculation about what new owners would do with the property has swirled. Today, developers shared their vision for the future of the development in an announcement detailing their plans, as reported by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Most notably, the open-air retail space will no longer have its namesake statue. The massive sundial welcoming visitors will be removed and replaced with an outdoor bar and “cafe-style” seating areas, including a long community table and several patio tables with umbrellas. Renderings show added green space to the outdoor area, as well.

As for the retail and restaurant side of it, we will wait to see what businesses retain their location, and of course, the big question is what new businesses will be coming in. We wrote last week that the popular Hyde Park restaurant Forbici is eyeing a St. Pete location, and there are plenty of connections that seem to make the Sundial a likely landing place.

Renderings still include Sea Salt in the development, and they also show a fitness center, a restaurant/market, and several other stores, though some may just be placeholders by the designers. We’re told the team behind the project is being methodical and highly-selective in the search for retail and restaurant partners as they envision a mini neighborhood akin to Hyde Park Village. We certainly expect to see at least a few national brands on the retail side.

The development is a joint project between Ally Capital and Paradise Ventures, who purchased the property in early 2022, which was a unique transaction for such a huge development. The deal was brokered by St. Pete real estate agent and local entrepreneur Jon La Budde, who said the sale was unlike any other.

When the previous owner of the Sundial Bill Edwards told La Budde he was ready to sell, La Budde knew at least 12 developers who would jump at the opportunity, but he made his first call to his friend Mike Connor at the locally-run Paradise Ventures. Because they were friends, La Budde said he wanted to let Connor know first before he contacted other developers. 

Connor’s response was short, and immediate: “Don’t call anybody else. I want it.”

Just like that, the future of the key piece of downtown property had been decided. No more calls needed.

“In reality, one of the biggest deals in the city that year went through in like two minutes,” La Budde joked. “It was pretty cool.”

Of course, while the big sale was simple, the journey to get there was anything but. Originally, Edwards never even planned to sell, as he had a deal with the team behind Tampa’s Armature Works to create a similar concept with the property.

As we know now, that deal fell apart, but not before Edwards had already begun demolition where Locale Market was located and moved shops to the other side of the building. The result was a beautiful facility with too many vacancies, and an owner left in limbo.

Now, with last year’s sale and this week’s announcement, the future of the Sundial is (mostly) settled. Stay tuned over the coming months for more updates on what retailers and restaurants to expect at the revamped property. TBBJ reports that engineering work has already begun, with infrastructure work expected to begin this spring.

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