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Sarasota Thursday, Jun. 3, 2010 7 years ago

Site contamination delays new Publix construction

by: Robin Roy City Editor

The construction of a new Publix supermarket at U.S. 41 and Wood Street is now getting back on track after a delay caused by contamination on the site.

Soil and groundwater at the former Sarasota Herald-Tribune property at 801 S. Tamiami Trail were contaminated with chlorinated solvents.

A spokesperson for the New York Times Co., which owns the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, said the contamination was originally discovered in 2005, when Palm Beach-based RAM Development Co. expressed interest in buying the property.

RAM Development Co., which is the co-developer of the Publix-anchored Broadway Promenade at North Tamiami Trail and 10th Street, did not end up buying the property.

Publix was aware of the solvents in the soil and groundwater when it purchased the 3.6-acre property in August 2009 for $6.3 million.

The company hoped to begin construction on the two-story, 54,000-square-foot store in early summer, but, because of the cleanup, work won’t begin until mid-summer, according to Publix spokeswoman Shannon
Patten. Construction is expected to take nine months.

“We wanted to get started a little sooner,” said Patten.

Abbe Serphos, the New York Times Co. spokeswoman, said the solvent cleanup began and was completed in May.

“The contamination was limited to an area on the south side of the property, extending into Bay Street,” said Serphos.

Publix will now wait until state regulators approve the remediation before it begins construction.

The new supermarket will replace the one in the Ringling Shopping Center at Ringling Boulevard and Lime Avenue. That store opened in 1955 and is the oldest continually operating location in the Publix chain.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected]

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