St. Petersburg businessman Bill Edwards has renamed the former BayWalk shopping center "Sundial," setting aside the earlier moniker "Shop at St. Pete."
Wednesday morning, Edwards explained "I realized there are so many 'shops,' why call it shops?"
Now in his mind, Sundial might evolve into a commonly spoken phrase: "Meet me at the Sundial."
Edwards' passion for this project is apparent as he gazes down on Sundial from an office across the street.
"That's the bottom of the sun dial right there," he said, pointing down at the base for an equatorial sun dial that will reach nearly three stories high.
"Aside from the crossbow sun dial, there's going to be bronze dolphins," Edwards said. "There'll be two or three inside the sun dial pool and then there will be like a waterway of mosaic tiles. And then the dolphins will come back up again in the mosaic tiles in the yard."
Walking over to a working model of the project, he joked about calling down to construction supervisors, and others.
"I ask them about everything, believe me -- I drive them out of their minds," he said before getting a bit more serious. "But, you have to, because it's details, you know, everything's a detail."
Details like knocking down a building that completed the enclosure of the old BayWalk's plaza because it blocked the view into the center.
"When I did that and I painted it, everybody wanted to rent it. I had a list two pages long of people wanting to come in, and I said, ‘well no. I'm not done, I'm going to refigure this whole thing out.' "
The remaining structures were expanded, more than replacing the square footage lost to demolition. Second floor walkways are now continuous, eliminating interruptions by escalators and stairs.
Details such as what Edwards declares will be public restrooms unlike any other shopping center.
"When you see them they're going to be something like you saw in Vegas," Edwards promised. "There're all marble, the ladies rooms are all going to have beautiful mirrors with lights that go around the whole side of them so they can see their makeup and all the things that girls want to do."
Security will also be Vegas-like: low key, dual purpose.
"I think that security will be more concierge than a security piece of it, where they may help you put your bags into the trunk and so on down the line, but still have that security there," Edwards said.
He offered no hint on how many restaurants versus how many stores, and certainly mentioned no tenants by name. But the construction work should clear the Sundial's plaza sometime next month.
"Somewhere in there, you're going to start seeing stores open up down on the lower level, and then the upper level will follow," Edwards said. "It'll start in March and go probably until June, July."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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