RIVERVIEW —The houses went up quickly, but the shops and restaurants followed more slowly.
That's beginning to change with the arrival of more large retailers at Big Bend Road and U.S. 301 in Riverview.
The area is now home to a new Bealls store, and a Walgreens and Burger King are coming soon. A Sam's Club is also in the works, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Quenta Vettel said.
The Sam's Club location will be developed by a local contractor and then sold to the company, Vettel said. The site, near the intersection's southwest corner, will house the first "big box" retailer between Gibsonton Drive and Sun City Center.
Though there's no set date for the 135,000-square-foot store's debut, Vettel said it might open in 2011 or 2012. Construction typically lasts nine months to a year, Vettel said, and a store that size employs about 250 people.
DeBartolo Development also began building a strip mall near the intersection's southwest side several weeks ago, said Edward Kobel, company president. The 17,000-square-foot project, Riverview Bell Plaza, will likely be completed in 10 months, Kobel said.
"We thought it was a great site, relative to the growth of Hillsborough County," he said.
Future tenants, he said, include Burger King and Walgreens. Kobel wouldn't say whether the group is developing the Sam's Club site, but did say it has room for several big box stores.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Transportation is working to widen U.S. 301 to six lanes from two in the area of Big Bend Road, said DOT spokeswoman Kris Carson.
Bealls is banking on that bustle to support its 80,000-square-foot store, said Jim Simpson, the Bradenton-based retailer's vice president of real estate. It's the only department store between Bloomingdale Avenue and Sun City Center.
The store, which opened Feb. 6, is called a prototype because of its wide aisles and department-specific decor. Construction began in July, and the store will employ about 60 people, Simpson said. He hopes the development sparks a "nice little retail hub there in the Riverview market."
"This was a void in the market for us," he said. "We thought it would attract new customers to Bealls from the Apollo Beach area and the new growth area right there, in and around going east of the intersection."
Victoria Bekiempis can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 661-2442.