Exclusive: Sundial owner says the addition of Forbici will ‘elevate the experience’ of the property 

With the announcement of Forbici Modern Italian coming to Sundial, in St. Petersburg, the owners of Sundial, Paradise Ventures, say it could offer a major transformational use of the property for the benefit of the surrounding neighborhood and the city of St. Petersburg.

Moving into the space previously occupied by Locale Market, Forbici will provide a return to ground-level food and drink offerings at Sundial. Something, Michael Connor, president and chief executive officer at Paradise Ventures, says is going to bring new life to Sundial.

“Our central goal in the redevelopment of the Sundial is to not only recreate the community gathering space the Sundial is known for but improve the overall experience for guests,” says Connor. “Many St. Pete visitors and residents have relied on the Sundial as an engaging area to dine, shop and enjoy drinks. Tenants such as Locale Market helped shape the Sundial into a key destination to mingle, have fun and conduct business.”

The outdoor seating and entertainment component will increase the activity and traffic to the courtyard and surrounding neighboring, which has been missing since Locale closed down, added Chuck Ernst, vice president of Paradise Ventures.

“From ice cream, sushi and pizza kiosks to multiple sit-down dining locations, the Sundial has been a hub for the St. Pete community. It has become an extension of the city itself,” Connor says.

Paradise Ventures, which owns Sundial in partnership with Tampa-based Ally Capital Group, said they explored several possible new tenants to occupy the space. But it was Jeff Gigante, a partner in Next Level Brands, and a St. Petersburg native, which owns Forbici, who checked enough boxes. Andrew Wright of Ally Capital Group is also a co-owner of Next Level Brands, along with Gigante and attorney Joseph Guggino. 

Connor says he is envisioning restaurant volume the likes of which St. Pete has rarely, if ever, experienced.

“I don’t think there are any — maybe not many — that do $10 or $12 million a year (in sales.) In Tampa, you can go within a mile and find ten of them,” he says.

Forbici Modern Italian’s 7,000-square-foot restaurant at Sundial will be its second location and the first Next Level Brands concept to enter St. Petersburg.

“Our partnership with Next Level Brands is an important step in elevating [the Sundial] experience,” Connor says.

More reading:

How the ‘A-Team’ at Next Level Brands found their niche

UPDATED: First look at reimagined mixed-use Sundial (RENDERINGS)

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