Business isn’t back yet at Whitney Beach Plaza, but, for now, the property is getting a makeover.
Richard Juliani, co-owner of the shopping center, told the Longboat Observer he still can’t disclose the names of tenants that will fill the mostly vacant shopping center until leases are signed — which won’t happen until construction is completed approximately four months from now.
“Until construction is complete, we’re not going to have people moving in,” he said.
Last week, workers removed the walkway roofing next to Bayou Tavern, making the property’s waterfront access visible from the front of the shopping center.
“We wanted to make that the main entryway in the back,” Juliani said. “There was no way to be able to tell there was water in the back.”
Juliani’s company has put new roofing on most of the property and is currently in the process of replacing the flat roof on the old Market/Whitney Beach Deli and Wines segment. Workers will install a new roof over Bayou Tavern in about a month to avoid interfering with season.
The open walkway will get a gable at each end, along with new plantings and possibly umbrellas or trellises.
Installation of LED lighting above the walkway and new columns is currently under way.
Juliani also plans to begin repaving the parking lot in a month.
The plaza isn’t the only north-end property that’s gotten spruced up in recent weeks.
In March, the vacant gas station at 6990 Gulf of Mexico Drive got a new, tan paint job.
“It seems to blend in with the surroundings,” said Richard Estrin, of Longview Realty Inc., which is listing the property for $850,000.
Michael Drake, president of the Longbeach Village Association, said that Village residents still have many questions about plans for the shopping center but are pleased to see that the properties are looking better.
“Obviously, whenever people see movement, it’s always a good thing,” he said. “At least it’s not such an eyesore as it was a few weeks ago.”