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Work to start on Trader Joe's in St. Petersburg within weeks

ST. PETERSBURG — Residents will soon see tangible evidence of Trader Joe's highly anticipated location on Fourth Street.

City officials have approved most of the permits for the specialty grocery store, which will be between 28th and 27th avenues N.

The chain still needs approval for demolition permits that will allow it to knock down the buildings that housed a handful of other businesses, including a couple of restaurants, a thrift store, a barbershop and a gym, said Rick Dunn, the city's top building official.

"We're reviewing them right now and should have them approved this week," Dunn said.

Once that is done, project officials expect demolition to start within weeks, said Lisa Brock, a spokeswoman for J Square Developers. Construction is slated to begin in mid March.

"For the last month or so, we've been clearing the lot," Brock said. "Everything is on schedule."

Trader Joe's #767, as it is referred to in construction plans submitted to the city, will have about 12,000 square feet. It will sit on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and 28th Avenue N.

In addition to Trader Joe's, plans submitted to the city show a secondary, 3,000-square-foot building on the property.

Brock said the space will house a Vitamin Shoppe across from a parking lot closer to 27th Avenue N.

Kristen Noakes-Fry, president of the Crescent Heights Neighborhood Association, said residents are excited about the project.

She praised the developer for being responsive to concerns about congestion and traffic. They already have another grocery store, the Fresh Market, close by at 2900 Fourth St. N.

"People are very interested in having another option," said Noakes-Fry, who bought a house in the neighborhood a little over 10 years ago. "These markets don't take biz away from each other. I think it can only help the neighborhood."

Brock said she did not know when Trader Joe's will open. The company did not respond to a request for comment but has said it would be this year.

Another location in Tampa is under construction.

Dunn said it is typical for stores like these to want to be open by the fall season.

"All indications are that they're anxious to get under way," Dunn said.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@tampabay.com, (727) 893-8643 or @cornandpotatoes on Twitter.

Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect the following correction: A new Trader Joe's store expected to open in St. Petersburg will be located on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and 28th Avenue N. A story Thursday had an incorrect location.

Work to start on Trader Joe's in St. Petersburg within weeks 02/12/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 14, 2014 6:02pm]
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