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Pinellas Park gets a look at Wal-Mart plans

The design of the supercenter includes a grocery, garden center, and oil and lube area.

By ANNE LINDBERG

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 26, 2000


PINELLAS PARK -- For the first time, the general public has a chance to study the layout for south Pinellas' first Wal-Mart supercenter.

Wal-Mart designers dropped off the proposed site plan at the city's Building Department last week to give city employees a chance to study it and make changes before the final layout is submitted.

It's unlikely there will be any major revisions to the proposal. Most city attention will focus on the height and length of the wall separating the building from nearby residences as well as the number and width of parking spaces. The wall dimensions, for one, will require City Council approval for variances to the zoning codes.

City workers want to see the plans and make possible changes now so the discount giant has to go before the council just one time, zoning coordinator Wayne Wells said.

The plan differs little, if at all, from the one Wal-Mart officials posted outside chambers last month when the council unanimously approved a zoning change that cleared the way for the supercenter.

The $25-million to $30-million supercenter will be built at 7901 U.S. 19 N, currently occupied by the 12-screen Movies at Pinellas Park and the Drive-In Ministries next door. The site is about a half-mile south of the existing store at 8900 U.S. 19 N.

The plans show the 224,000-square-foot building sitting on the eastern part of the parcel. On the northern side of the building will be a full-service grocery store complete with bakery. On the southern side, there will be an 11,000-square-foot canopied garden center. Also on the southern side, behind the garden center, is an eight-bay oil and lube center.

The main store would be in the center of the structure.

Thus far, the plan shows 1,153 parking spaces. That number is likely to change, Wells said, because the council approved an ordinance that would allow 9-foot-wide spaces rather than 10-foot-wide spaces.

Wells said it is unclear when construction might begin. But last month, store representatives said construction likely will begin late this year, putting the opening in 2001.

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