MADEIRA BEACH — Publix Super Markets has purchased the Madeira Shopping Center, where it has had a store since 1957. It paid $7.9 million for the 80,167-square-foot center at 662 Welch Causeway
"I am just overwhelmed and so happy," Madeira Beach Mayor Pat Shontz said. "I have every confidence in my body that Publix will make that place very classy and they will be able to collect productive tenants. … It doesn't have that TLC that it used to once have."
A spokeswoman for the Lakeland-based grocery store chain couldn't be specific about any plans for a face-lift or new tenants.
"We are still exploring all options for the future of this shopping center, and none of our plans have been finalized," said Shannon Patten of Publix.
Publix occupies 39,667 square feet of the shopping center. Walgreens and Sign of the Dolphin home decor and gift shop are the grocery store's neighbors. Two spaces that used to house Bealls For Her and a Hallmark store totaling 18,375 square feet have sat empty for months. The shopping center was significantly renovated in 1999 and repainted throughout in 2007, according to Phil Heath, vice president of asset management for Palm Beach Gardens-based Ram, an affiliate of Madeira Beach CRP, the former owner of the center.
"The center enjoys a prime, strategic location on the eastern end of the main causeway used to serve the residents, both permanent and seasonal, of the barrier island communities of Madeira Beach, Redington beaches, and Redington Shores," Heath added.
At one point in its history the center housed a dozen smaller tenants such as Harrell's Garden Center and Rutland's Department Store, along with a laundromat, shoe store, barber and bakery.
"It was absolutely wonderful back in 1957 when it opened. We were so excited," Shontz said, adding that she's also excited about its future with Publix as the owner. "It will take on a different personality."
Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at (727) 893-8785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.