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Grant could help Sweetbay move in South Cape

By Staff | Oct 14, 2009

A total of $100,000 of Community Redevelopment Agency money could be used to reshape the look and feel of the future home of a Sweetbay Supermarket on Cape Coral Parkway East.
Sweetbay will relocate from its current home on Leonard Street to the plaza once occupied by Publix within 12 months, according to CRA officials.
Sweetbay plans on resurfacing the parking lot, changing lights and remodeling the front of the shopping plaza and the interior of the store.
As part of the facade grant program, CRA Executive Director John Jacobsen said the $100,000 would likely help to cover some of the renovation costs, but not pay those charges in full.
“It will probably be well in excess of $100,000 or $200,000 redoing the entire parking lot and face of the building,” he said. “There’s going to be some real substantive changes, which will be nice and beautiful and bring the plaza into the 21st century.”
According to Jacobsen, in order to qualify for the maximum facade grant amount of $100,000, businesses must have at least a 100 feet of frontage on Cape Coral Parkway, Southeast 47th Terrace or Del Prado Boulevard.
No timetable has been set for the CRA board to approve the grant, but Jacobsen speculated that the board will likely vote to approve, attempting to make it “as painless as possible.”
As the South Cape continually tries to reinvent itself as a vital shopping, dining and residential area, Jacobsen said a supermarket is necessary to complete that vision, citing the Publix in downtown Fort Myers as an example.
By relocating to Cape Coral Parkway, Sweetbay will have the grocery market cornered for at least 20 years, the term of its lease. Also, vacating its current home on Leonard could open up another big box retail opportunity in the CRA.
“In order for the downtown to flourish, it needs a grocery store,” he said. “For a walkable downtown, the key is drug and grocery stores, the things people who live there need to go to every day.”