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Publix may be Lowe's neighbor

The grocery is negotiating a lease for the property next to the new Lowe's on Park Boulevard.

By ANNE LINDBERG

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 28, 2001


PINELLAS PARK -- Publix wants to put a supermarket in the Lowe's shopping center being built on the site of the Mustang Flea Market.

The news came Tuesday in a letter from Publix to Tom Shevlin, the city's zoning director.

"We are currently negotiating a lease for the property adjacent to the Lowe's currently under construction," reads the letter from Tom Renne, a real estate manager for Publix Super Markets Inc.

The letter describes the store as having 54,500 square feet with a drive-through. The city would need to approve a change to the development plan so the store could be built. Renne said he hoped Pinellas Park officials would agree to make the change.

Shevlin said the Lakeland-based supermarket chain had not yet submitted a site plan, so no dates have been set to bring the matter before the Pinellas Park Planning and Zoning Commission. The proposal must go before that group before coming in front of the City Council.

"They have not actually submitted a site plan to have a change made," Shevlin said. "They're ahead of themselves."

But city officials welcomed the prospect of having a Publix at 7301 Park Blvd. Pinellas Park Mayor Bill Mischler said he had heard rumors that the developers wanted a Publix there and that one would be moving in.

"That's great," Mischler said. "I think that's another great asset for our city, to have another Publix. They have a fine reputation."

"I think it surely could be an awful good thing for them with all the activity that's going to be up on that corner," council member Ed Taylor said. "I think it's exciting. I think it's very exciting."

Both Mischler and Taylor said they think this is the beginning of redevelopment along that section of Park Boulevard. Already the area is getting the Lowe's and a CVS drugstore on the adjacent property where an Amoco gas station is. The Lowe's shopping center also has room for some smaller stores that would front Park Boulevard.

Publix, founded by George W. Jenkins in 1930 in Winter Haven, is now the sixth-largest supermarket chain in the United States with retail sales of $14.6-billion in 2000.

It has more than 124,000 employees in 648 supermarkets that are spread across Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.

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