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Lowe's plans store along State Road 54

The company, which filed a site plan this week and has scheduled a meeting with Pasco officials, will have several hurdles to clear.

By STEPHEN HEGARTY
Published May 25, 2005


LAND O'LAKES - Lowe's Home Improvement plans to put a store near one of Land O'Lakes' busiest intersections - along State Road 54 just east of U.S. 41.

The company is proposing a store on a rare undeveloped parcel in a high-traffic area facing State Road 54. The wooded land, which has been up for sale for years, is in something of a tight spot. It is bordered to the west by a sheriff's substation, and to the east by the Encore RV Park.

The property has several acres of wetlands, and is near a couple of large retention ponds owned by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Lowe's spokeswoman Karen Cobb said Tuesday the company "hasn't made a formal announcement for a store in that area." Nevertheless she discussed the company's aggressive expansion plans. Lowe's, with 1,100 stores nationwide, opened 140 stores last year and has plans for 150 this year and 160 next year.

Lowe's plans for growth fit well with Pasco's where there are thousands of new homeowners every year.

The company opened a store in Zephyrhills earlier this year, and a store in New Tampa in 2000. Lowe's also has a store in west Pasco on Little Road.

The company filed a site plan for the proposed development this week and has scheduled a meeting with Pasco County officials in June. The company will have several hurdles to clear before area homeowners can make plans to stop by for mulch and ceiling fans.

The site plan calls for a 165,000-square-foot store set off State Road 54, with a parcel facing the highway. It appears the project would be covered by Pasco's new "big box" ordinance, which requires that developers soften the boxy appearance and add landscaping.

A Lowe's store at that site would form a "big box" commercial node to be reckoned with, as both Wal-Mart and Target have pitched plans for stores nearby at Dale Mabry Highway and U.S. 41.

The store would bring more traffic to a busy intersection, and, despite plans for some buffers, it would be a close neighbor to the hundreds of residents at the Encore RV Park. The park has 252 units, and the majority of the residents live year-round. There is development to the east of the RV park already, as land is being cleared for a professional center.

[Last modified May 25, 2005, 00:40:21]


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