Wal-Mart is looking to build supercenter

The retailer has bought 13 acres. Construction will start in the spring.

By ERIC SMITHERS Times Staff Writer
Published October 5, 2007


SUN BAY SOUTH

The nation's largest retailer has closed on the purchase of five land parcels on Gandy Boulevard and Lois Avenue and will begin construction on a Wal-Mart Supercenter in the spring.

The parcels total 13 acres and include sites currently occupied by Sticks 'N' Stuff furniture store, Pleasure Zone Adult Supercenter, Stars Athletics gymnastics center, Tampa G. Manufacturing Co. and Progressive Development Properties.

Wal-Mart officials are still negotiating with the Florida Department of Transportation and have not finalized site plans for the proposed 146,000-square-foot store that will feature a grocery, garden and general merchandise, said spokeswoman Quenta Vettel. "We're looking to build a nicer store, not just a big gray blue box," Vettel said.

Some residents are concerned that the store could increase traffic congestion, as well as worsen flooding problems because of its massive asphalt parking lot.

In another issue, the city is set to build a 30-foot median with enhancements on Gandy Boulevard early next year, Vettel said.

It was unclear this week what those enhancements will be, but residents fear the median could hinder the Gandy entrance and exit to Wal-Mart, said Al Steenson, president of the Gandy Civic Association.

Vettel said neighbors should not worry. The proposed site plan includes a dry pond system to counter any flooding that may occur from the 635-space parking lot. Wal-Mart will do what it can to work with the neighborhood to fit in, Vettel said.

The store will not be as large as some other supercenters, which are typically 208,000 square feet on 25 acres. The Gandy store won't have a gas station, tire and lube center or a liquor store.

Because the site is on commercial property, no public hearing will be held before construction.

Representatives from Wal-Mart will present plans for the new building Tuesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at the Bayside West Neighborhood Association meeting in the Regency Cove Mobile Home Park's Friendship Hall at 4851 W Gandy Blvd.

http://www.sptimes.com/2007/10/05/news_pf/Citytimes/Wal_Mart_is_looking_t.shtml

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