Wal-Mart Supercenter may be ahead at Gandy and Lois Avenue
By EMILY NIPPS
Published June 29, 2007
For the past few months, Wal-Mart has been eyeing the corner of Gandy Boulevard and Lois Avenue, unbeknown to some workers and customers of several smaller businesses there.
After the nation's largest retailer submits its plans this summer, five well-known South Tampa businesses could be replaced by a 150, 000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter.
The area is zoned for commercial use, and Wal-Mart already has the properties under contract and hopes to buy the 13 acres once the city approves the plans, company spokeswoman Quenta Vettel said.
"We've been looking for a site to serve customers in South Tampa, and this one looks to be ideal, " she said. "We're very excited to go forward."
The five parcels that Wal-Mart hopes to buy are currently occupied by Sticks 'N' Stuff discount furniture store, Pleasure Zone Adult Supercenter, Stars Athletics gymnastics center, Tampa G. Manufacturing Co. and Progressive Development Properties.
However, employees contacted at the businesses said they were unaware of any closings or relocation plans. Some were even reassured that the Wal-Mart rumors were false.
"The owners said they don't know anything about the sale of this building, " said Sticks 'N' Stuff manager Dave Pezone. "This whole thing is a Wal-Mart 'wannabe' deal. It's been blown out of proportion."
Vettel said the Supercenter plans are still very preliminary; no timeline has been set for construction. The mega-retailer has had some meetings with city officials and has contracts on the five parcels, but still has to do traffic and other impact studies before moving forward.
"The nice thing is it's a corridor already designated for redevelopment, and you're already starting to see that with the Sweetbay (across the street), " she said. "It's an area in transition."
The store is expected to be a smaller, more urban version of the typical Wal-Mart Supercenter, which is around 200, 000 square feet.
The South Tampa store plans include grocery, pharmacy and garden centers, Vettel said, but not automotive services or a liquor store.
Emily Nipps can be reached at (813) 269-5313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Last modified June 28, 2007, 08:07:55]
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