The North Trail is starting to change.
Last year, the city of Sarasota approved projects for a new Walmart grocery store and a new Goodwill Superstore for the North Trail.
The Walmart is being welcomed with open arms, but some residents are working to appeal the Goodwill store because they believe it’s too large and doesn’t fit the character of revitalization they’re seeking on the North Trail.
The new Walmart will replace the shuttered Winn-Dixie supermarket at 3500 N. Tamiami Trail.
North Trail neighborhoods have been without a nearby supermarket since the Winn-Dixie, which had been there for four decades, closed in the fall. Currently, the nearest grocery store is the Publix at North Tamiami Trail and 10th Street.
The approximately 34,000-square-foot grocery store will include canopy awnings, bicycle racks, bus stops and pedestrian access points for residents.
The store will create 90 to 100 jobs in the economically depressed area.
The Walmart could be up and running as early as August, and the neighborhood market will be the first Walmart of its kind in Sarasota County. There are 27 statewide, including one in Tampa, one in Largo and one in Pinellas Park.
A group called Citizens for Reasonable North Trail Development, meanwhile, wants to file an appeal this month in Sarasota County Circuit Court of the Goodwill project, after the Sarasota City Commission opted not to hear its appeal in December.
The decision essentially allows the project to move forward on two vacant parcels that sit at the corner of U.S. 41 and Myrtle Street.
The planning board approved the 29,699-square-foot retail store by a 3-2 vote, despite concerns from residents who think the store doesn’t fit the character of the neighborhood they hope to revitalize.
The new store would have approximately 80 employees, compared to the 60 employees the current location has.
The store will sit approximately 12 blocks away from the site of a new Walmart grocery store that has already received a building permit.
Lorna Alston, general manager of North Sarasota redevelopment, is pleased that development on the North Trail is being proposed and approved.
“It’s a good sign of bigger things to come,” Alston said.
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