If you’ve driven down Central Avenue recently, you’d notice that the Grand Central District is teeming with new development. Over the next few months multiple developments are expected to wrap up including: 1701 Central, Vantage Lofts, TRU by Hilton, and Artistry Apartments. In total over 700 new apartments will soon join the district along with 132 new hotel rooms.
These added residents and guests will increase the need for more restaurants and services in the area. Thankfully, each of these developments has ground floor retail, more than 60,000 square feet in total, which will add to the vibrancy of the area.
At Artistry, which is located at 1601 Central Avenue, leases were recently signed for two of the retail units. Each of the businesses is expected to open by the end of the year.
Raining Berries, which will open in a 2,397 SF space across from Zaytoon Grille, will serve fresh acai bowls, teas, kombucha, frappes and coffee. The café is being opened by Bimal Bhojani, who founded the concept in 2018. Bhojani was born in Uganda and grew up in England.
After working in the sports industry and in foreign exchange markets, he later moved to the United States and started a preschool in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Shortly after, Bhojani rediscovered his passion for coffee that took roots to his family history in Uganda. He opened the first Raining Berries location in Lutz in 2019.
“At the core of our mission and our company are people. The laughter, connections, and memories that can be formed over a simple drink are the reason we have dedicated our lives to it,” says the Raining Berries’ website. “Our ethically and sustainably sourced coffee, fresh açaí bowls, and modern atmosphere invite anyone and everyone in.”
If you enjoy munching on bowl filled with juicy fresh fruit on a bed of acai or sipping freshly brewed, sustainably sourced cup of coffee, Raining Berries will be your spot on the 1600 block of Central Avenue.
The second business opening in Artistry is Mammamia Gelato Italiano, an Italian Gelato shop owned by Massimo Balestra. Mammamia Gelato Italiano will open in a 1,236 SF space on the west side of the building.
The shop has locations throughout Europe, Asia and on Miami Beach. This is its first location in Tampa Bay and the company is hoping to have 20 locations throughout the United States in the future. Mammamia will feature 32 flavors of gelato all made in-house. The top flavors with international awards are amarena (sweet, dark cherry), apricot, pistachio crunch, and hazelnut.
A KW Commercial led by Jake Wollman, Jon Wittner, and Jonny Reno represented the landlord in both leasing transactions while Debbie Reeser of Barkett Realty represented the tenant in the Mammamia transaction.
“It has been our goal even before construction started to target the right mix of experiential retail that will not only compliment the residential experience, but more importantly match the energy of the eclectic neighborhood where this project sits,” says KW Commercial’s Jake Wollman. “The success of these mixed use projects is really bolstered by the ground level vibe that the right mix of retail can provide.”
Wollman also hints about which type of tenants could potentially fill the remaining 6,000 SF of retail space in the Artistry building. “We are excited to share more tenant announcements shortly and, in the meantime, we are looking for a full service restaurant or neighborhood grocery store to fill the most visible corner of Central Avenue at 16th Street,” he says.
When Raining Berries and Mammamia Gelato Italiano open later this year, they’ll join other businesses in the area like Hideaway Café, Burg Bar & Grill, and Zaytoon Grill in bringing additional vibrancy to the area. While there is a lot of uncertainty in St. Petersburg, FL right now due to COVID-19, we look forward to seeing these new businesses come to life in the months ahead!
Leasing inquiries for retail space in Artistry can be made by contacting Jake Wollman of KW Commercial at 727-280-5592 or Jwollman@kwcommercial.com.