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Winn-Dixie site is in Walgreens plan

Pinellas Park's zoning director says the 49th Street N grocery is likely to be replaced by a drugstore and another store.

By ANNE LINDBERG

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 4, 2001


PINELLAS PARK -- If all goes according to plan, a Winn-Dixie supermarket will be transformed into a Walgreens drugstore.

And it appears to be going very well. Pinellas Park's Planning and Zoning Commission by a 6-1 vote recommended Thursday that the city allow the drugstore to operate a drive-through lane at 7751 49th St. N. The City Council must give final approval, probably later this spring.

"It's a total re-do," Pinellas Park zoning director Wayne Wells said. "Winn-Dixie goes away and they (Walgreens) start all over."

The pharmacy would take over the corner of the acreage for the proposed 15,000-square-foot store, Wells said, and leave about an acre for another store on the property.

The driveway on the eastern side of the property would be moved farther from the residences, with greenery acting as a buffer.

The drugstore will leave a space for people to get to the Blockbuster video store by crossing the parking lot.

It's unclear what will happen to the Winn-Dixie.

"They're leaving. At least from that location," Wells said. "If they're going to pop up someplace else, I don't know."

Winn-Dixie headquarters in North Carolina could not be reached for comment.

If the deal goes through, it's uncertain when Walgreen Co. would begin construction.

Carol Hively of Walgreen public relations in Illinois said it's too early to talk about the possibility of opening a store in Pinellas Park. But opening stores across the United States, particularly in Florida, is one of the company's goals, she said.

"We're opening a new store every 17 hours," Hively said. "In Florida, especially; it's a huge market for us."

The company plans to invest $1.4-billion in fiscal 2001 in new and relocated stores, distribution centers and systems development. Earnings are accelerating, and the company is essentially debt-free, according to the company's Web site.

Walgreen has 509 stores in Florida and plans to have 700 in the state by 2004. Nationwide, the company has 3,312 stores in 43 states and Puerto Rico. By 2010, Walgreen wants to have 6,000 stores.

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