- September 21, 2011
It’s been a good summer at White Sands Cleaners.
According to Manager Bobbi Summerall, sales are up 40% from last year, despite two empty spaces remaining at the Shoppes of Bay Isles, which is anchored by Publix and its liquor store and is also home to White Sands, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, J.McLaughlin, Longboat Key Fitness and Nails of Longboat Key.
Although Summerall has had twice the foot traffic at her business this summer compared with last summer, she admits the vacant space at the southwest corner of the shopping center is an impediment to neighboring businesses.
But the Publix-owned plaza could soon get two new tenants: a restaurant and a Chase Bank.
“We do have initial interest from restaurants, and we’re in the process of negotiating a deal,” said leasing agent Sandra Woodworth, of Crossman & Co. “I can’t elaborate on that.”
Town staff is also vetting plans for a new Chase Bank on the outparcel at the north end of the shopping center.
The 2,500-square-foot end space has been vacant the three years since the plaza’s completion.
“They’re in negotiations non-stop with restaurants,” said Longboat Key Fitness owner Petar Sibinkic.
Still, Sibinkic would like to see a breakfast-and-lunch diner similar to Peaches in Sarasota or a deli open in the space.
Summerall would like to see a Starbucks move into the vacant space, which also affords a potential tenant patio seating.
“Even the older people drink Starbucks,” Summerall said.
The Chase Bank is slated for the northeast corner of the Shoppes of Bay Isles, meaning it will be closer to the Bay Isles Parkway entrance of the plaza than the Bank of America and SunTrust Bank farther north.
Planning, Zoning and Building Director Alaina Ray said that during a July 13 Development Review Committee meeting, staff had only minor issues with the application.
The Planning and Zoning Board will consider a site plan for the new bank in September. The site plan will then go before the Town Commission for final approval.
Although Sibinkic would like more traffic in the plaza during the summer months, he said his clientele has grown by 2% to 3% each year since his gym opened.
“That’s about as good as it gets with this type of business,” Sibinkic said.
Publix purchased the shopping center property for $14 million in 2008. It tore down the existing Avenue of the Flowers shopping center and built the new Shoppes of Bay Isles in 2013.