North Trail residents and redevelopment leaders said they are happy to see a new grocery store planning to replace the shuttered Winn-Dixie supermarket.
Wal-Mart wants to build a “neighborhood market” at the 3500 N. Tamiami Trail site. Neighborhood markets only carry groceries. They are not typical Walmarts.
“Most of the people are pretty excited,” said former Commissioner Dick Clapp, who lives in the Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores neighborhood. “A new grocery store would be great.”
North Trail neighborhoods have been without a supermarket since the Winn-Dixie, which had been there for four decades, closed last fall.
Currently, the nearest grocery store is the Publix at North Tamiami Trail and 10th Street.
Wal-Mart is planning a store that is 33,803 square feet, which is slightly smaller than the Winn-Dixie.
The retail giant would demolish not only the existing building, but also the parking lot and sidewalks and would rebuild everything.
City staff is asking Wal-Mart to hire local workers to perform that construction.
As for the impact on nearby residents, city transportation engineers believe Walmart will have less of an impact on North Trail traffic, because the store will be smaller.
The city is also requesting that the store minimize idling trucks in the early-morning hours, before the store opens, so neighbors aren’t disturbed.
The neighborhood market would be the first one in Sarasota County. There are 27 statewide, including one in Tampa, one in Largo and one in Pinellas Park.
Although some neighbors will be happy to see a new store arrive, others are apprehensive.
“We’re not Wal-Mart shoppers, because of their (track record) on women’s issues,” said Dianne Saunders, a Bayou Oaks resident. “But we’ll check it out to support the neighborhood.”
Those overseeing the redevelopment of North Trail seem most encouraged.
Jay Patel, chairman of the North Trail Redevelopment Partnership, said Walmart would be a welcome addition.
“It’s very much needed,” Patel said.
Lorna Alston, general manager of North Sarasota redevelopment, said: “We look forward to the opportunity to have Walmart.”
BY THE NUMBERS
0 — Existing Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets in Sarasota County
135 — Parking spaces to be built
33,803 — Size, in square feet, of proposed Walmart store
39,961 — Size, in square feet, of closed Winn-Dixie store
Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].