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Negotiations under way for former Circuit City, Circle K in Citrus Park

CITRUS PARK — Negotiations are under way between the leasing agent for the former Circuit City and a prospective tenant.

Sorry, Citrus Park. You won't be getting a bookstore or another big box.

"I can tell you it's not a retail type use," said Jeremy Kral, a retail specialist with Colliers Arnold, which listed the site for sale in March. "We currently have the space under contract."

That was about as specific as Kral would get in discussions about the site and the former Circle K gas station that sit diagonal to one another on Gunn Highway, just north of the Veterans Expressway.

That area, which includes the Westfield Citrus Park mall and the Citrus Park Town Plaza, is considered a commercial hub and draws millions of shoppers annually.

But it has taken a beating in the past year. Circuit City has been vacant since March, part of a nationwide liquidation of 567 stores. Circle K closed in May.

The gas station didn't close because it was struggling, Kral said, but because the property was part of a plan for a strip center that will be 10,000 to 12,000 square feet.

Kral should know. He worked on the deal to secure one of the tenants: a national mattress company.

He said that project officials, who could not be reached, are in discussions with a national restaurant chain, too.

Kral would not name the restaurant or the mattress company.

There are no clues around the property at 7002 Gunn Highway, which has a blue garbage bin outside and hanging wires and water puddles on the inside. But plans for the Circle K are coming together at a faster pace than they are for the old Circuit City at 6918 Gunn Highway.

Originally listed at $6.9 million, the asking price for the electronic store fell to $5.9 million in June. "We really weren't getting any phone calls," Kral said.

The market is saturated with a flood of vacant storefronts, the result of the economic downturn.

"With Linens 'n Things and Circuit City, you had a number of big boxes that became available all at the same time due to bankruptcies," he said. "If this was a typical market atmosphere, we would have seen quite a bit more interest or demand."

Kral said it will take a year for closing, planning, permitting and other contractual processes to be completed.

At the earliest, the former Circuit City won't be occupied until next year, he said.

Rodney Thrash can be reached at rthrash@sptimes.com or (813) 269-5303.

Negotiations under way for former Circuit City, Circle K in Citrus Park 07/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 16, 2009 4:30am]
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