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Developer changes plans for Gateway Dunedin • St Pete Catalyst project

A developer has revamped plans for the mixed-use Gateway Dunedin project bringing new apartments, a hotel, restaurants and retail to Main Street.

At a Dunedin local planning agency meeting on Wednesday, council members approved the advancement of an amendment to the development agreement for the Gateway Dunedin project. Developer Joe Kokolakis is spearheading the project and is seeking approvals as the project now includes additional properties and more apartments.

The initial plan for the more than $30 million development called for 81 apartments, a 79-room hotel, 17,000 square feet of retail, restaurants and a food hall concept.

The initial agreement was approved at the end of 2020, followed by the design review process. Since then, Kokolakis has made changes to the original plan, causing a new need for approvals.

One of the biggest changes is the addition of new properties. Kokolakis said he recently purchased the additional 0.39 acre Soggy Bottom Brewing Co. property at 660 Main Street and the adjacent Southern BBQ and Catering property which adjoins Skinner Boulevard.

The Soggy Bottom Brewing Co. in Dunedin. Google Maps.

Brewery and restaurant operations are not subject to change, and the purchase was a strategic decision that now allows Kokolakis to add more units to the Gateway project due to increased density. It also offers another connection to the street and additional parking.

“The purpose of the purchase was because it [the property] was here. During Covid, we re-analyzed the project a bit and recognized that with this purchase we were entitled to 12 more apartment units and a little more if we increased the size of the hotel,” Kokolakis said, explaining that the hotel management company had no desire to change the number of rooms; however, apartment units will be increased to 90.

Kokolakis said he could add the new units without changing the building’s footprint by converting several of the large three- and two-bedroom units.

“We looked at the apartments and recognized him [the increased number] wasn’t necessarily necessary due to the market and people working from home [wanting] larger units – the issue was affordability,” he said.

Although apartments are market-priced units, a smaller square footage will reduce rent for tenants.

The ground floor of the development will house the restaurant, retail, food hall and parking lot, while the other floors will house the apartments, a swimming pool and other amenities.

Another change involves the relocation of a municipal storm water main to the property.

The Kokolakis team hopes to receive more necessary approvals by August to launch the project in the fall. He expects development to take 24 months.

Kokolakis has worked on other projects, such as the Artisan Apartment Homes and Nature’s Food Patch on Douglas Avenue.

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