The former Dive Bar and adjacent tattoo parlor Downtown are slated for renovation into the Live Bakery and Bar.
The Downtown Investment Authority approved a retail enhancement grant in December for the project at 327 and 331 E. Bay St.
The CEO of that project has applied for a certificate of use for the business and the city is reviewing a permit for contractor Nialvi LLC to renovate space there.
Owner John Ferra said Monday the bar area would offer seafood, such as oysters and crab legs, and operate more as a sports lounge. He expects to open about 4 p.m. and close late.
The bakery side focuses on his mother Maria’s specialty.
“My mother has been in the bakery business and we’ve been doing this for 20-something years,” he said.
Ferra Bakery Inc. is based at 5570 Florida Mining Blvd. S.
Ferra said he hopes to open in two or three months, but that depends on approvals and construction.
According to the DIA staff report, the project will redevelop about 4,600 square feet of the first floor of the two-story buildings.
It said Live Bakery is an offshoot of Maria’s Bakery, a Greek-based bakery established in 1996 by the Ferra family.
The bakery will specialize in bread and dessert products. The menu will include bakery items, appetizers and entrees priced from $7.99 to $19.99, the report says.
The report said the restaurant initially plans to offer lunch, dinner and entertainment starting at 10 a.m., although Ferra said the bakery might open earlier.
The report says owner and CEO Klodian Ferra, who goes by John, expects 15 full-time employees. The facility will provide maximum seating for 200 clients.
Plans filed with the DIA show 38 seats in the bakery and the remainder in the restaurant and bar.
The report says the venture will be managed by two people with 34 years of combined experience in restaurant and bar management and executive office operating and administrative experience.
Ferra sought the grant for improvements to include plumbing, electrical and mechanical, fire and safety, and to the walk-in cooler.
He estimates the total investment at $330,805, including construction improvements of about $158,595. Ferra’s investment would be $251,508.
The forgivable loan is subject to the project obtaining the permits and completing the work within six months of the executed DIA agreement, with a possible six-month extension.
The loan will be secured by a personal guarantee by Ferra in the event of a default under the program or funding agreement.
Landlord Mike Basford said it was more progress for Downtown.
“The bakery definitely should be something that changes the mix,” Basford said.
He said the focus on nightlife in The Elbow entertainment district translates into evening activity, while the bakery will generate interest in the daytime.
“They apparently seem to know what they are doing and are working hard to do a nice job,” he said.
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• Jimmy Hula’s intends to open in what is called Jimmy Hula’s Commercial Center. A St. Johns River Water Management District application said Oakleaf Hula Holding LLC plans to develop the center on almost 1.5 acres at 9711 Applecross Road. Plans say there will be three restaurant spaces that offer a total of 250 seats in the 5,835-square-foot building.
• A shell building for Moe’s Southwest Grill could soon go up at The Strand at Town Center. The 2,760-square-foot structure is in city review for a $250,000 construction job at 4710 Town Center Parkway.
• Starbucks is preparing to open at Town Center Promenade. A $225,000 renovation of 2,120 square feet in a new building at 4474 Town Center Parkway is under review.