Make us your home page

Circuit City closure leaves the Walk on shaky footing

Customers try to grab a few final deals Monday at Circuit City at the Walk. This store will close as soon as it runs out of merchandise.


Customers try to grab a few final deals Monday at Circuit City at the Walk. This store will close as soon as it runs out of merchandise.

NEW TAMPA — When Linens 'n Things and Circuit City opened at the Walk in Highwoods Preserve in 2001, developers described the first few months as going "exceptionally well."

With a prime location along busy Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, the shopping plaza became a popular stop in this affluent community.

Today — eight years and a crumbling economy later — the strip center is about to look like a ghost town.

Corporate bankruptcies have forced both these big box giants to go into liquidation, just a few months after Bennigan's, another tenant at the Walk, locked its doors.

Circuit City has become the largest retailer to fall victim to the expanding financial crisis. After attempts to sell the business failed, the company announced last week that it will shut down its remaining 567 stores nationwide at the cost of 34,000 more jobs.

Barbara Schlappig, owner of Salon at the Walk, located next to Circuit City, said she worried about how the closings will affect business.

Traffic was at high volume and parking spaces were scarce because of all the bargain-hunters this week, but what will happen after everything is sold and the Circuit City sign is taken off the building?

"You get concerned when anybody closes," Schlappig said. "It just doesn't look right."

Schlappig said the property has changed management companies several times. It is currently being managed by Developers Diversified Realty, a company based in Ohio. No one from Developers Diversified Realty was available for comment early this week.

According to the company's Web site, the Walk is a 150,529-square-foot community center.

More than 94,046 people with an average household income of $82,976 live within a 5-mile radius, it states.

Michaels, the arts and crafts store, is the one remaining anchor for about two dozen other tenants, including a Subway, a pediatrician's office, a bike shop and a Panera Bread.

Listening to the sound of car engines zooming past each day, it's odd to find a once-bustling center reduced to a strip of small shops with a single anchor, residents said.

"I feel bad for the shopping center," said Barbara Franklin, of Pebble Creek. "With the economy the way it is, I can't say that I'm surprised."

Franklin and her husband, Stan, were among a steady stream of shoppers earlier this week who stopped in at Circuit City to look for liquidation deals.

Signs along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard said items were discounted up to 30 percent.

It was a familiar trip for the Franklins, who weeks earlier browsed the barren aisles at Linens 'n Things next door as it sold remaining merchandise to pay creditors.

"Hopefully a Kohl's or a similar department store will move in here," Franklin said.

Scott Hileman of Nye Commercial Advisors, who specializes in land brokerage and development, said with a lot of retailers pulling back, the closings are "just a reflection of the economy."

He predicts the other business will survive.

"Obviously, everybody kind of relies on those anchor tenants to pull in traffic," he said. "The smaller tenants will be okay. Most of them have a pretty good presence in this market anyway. They'll be able to fill that space really quick."

Dong-Phuong Nguyen can be reached at (813)909-4613 or

At a glance

Who's left?

•The Walk opened in 2001 with Circuit City, Linens 'n Things, Panera Bread, Bennigan's and others. Michaels opened in 2002.

•Bennigan's eateries all over the country shut their doors in July 2008. Linens 'n Things liquidated its store and closed last month. Circuit City will close after everything is sold.

•Some eateries that remain in the plaza, located at Highwoods Preserve Parkway and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, include Panera Bread, Dunkin' Donuts, Subway and Ho King.

Circuit City closure leaves the Walk on shaky footing 01/22/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 22, 2009 12:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.