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SunTrust, Walgreens building anew near Britton Plaza

A retail corner across from Britton Plaza in South Tampa is getting its own mini economic stimulus with SunTrust Bank and Walgreens preparing to build new locations just steps away from the current ones.

Construction already has begun on the SunTrust branch that will be next door to the 1950s-era branch at 3863 S Dale Mabry Highway. In May, SunTrust spent $1.2 million for the property, which was owned by Discount Auto Parts and until recently was home to the Baby and Kids Village children's furniture store.

Demolition of the building on that site began in June.

Also in May, Walgreens bought the current SunTrust building for $2.3 million. The company is leasing it to the bank until construction on the new bank branch is complete, possibly by the end of the year, said Kathy James, senior vice president and marketing director for SunTrust's Tampa Bay region.

Walgreens has applied for permits to build a standalone location at the site, according to city of Tampa records. The company has a store in Britton Plaza across the street.

At 5,200 square feet, the new SunTrust will be about the same size as the old one, but will be a "more efficient and state-of-the-art" building, James said. It will be in keeping with the style of other new SunTrust branches.

The project itself is "nice for the economy right now," James said.

Walgreens officials at the company's Deerfield, Ill., headquarters did not provide further information on the project. Many of the company's new stores feature a drive-through pharmacy, which the store at Britton Plaza lacks.

Little feet patter to International Plaza

Leigh Peters still hears it regularly from South Tampa residents, even though her Poco Pattino children's shoe store has been open for nearly five years.

I never knew you were here.

"When I hear that, my heart just sinks," Peters said.

In hopes of expanding her store's reach, Peters last week opened a second location at International Plaza in a space on the second floor near Nordstrom. Poco Pattino carries a high-end selection of European brands such as Primigi, Naturino and Geox, and Japanese brand Tsukihoshi.

Peters plans to keep her first boutique at the SouthTown Center, 3830 W Neptune St., open for the foreseeable future.

She was reluctant at first to make the leap to the mall, but International Plaza officials told her they "get more requests here for children's shoes than any other business," Peters said.

She originally had planned to just take some space for shoes in Cristi McGann's Precious Cargo children's clothing store, but McGann opted to close the store this summer after just six months at the mall.

"Everyone looks at me like, 'Are you crazy?' " Peters said. "But I feel like we have something to offer that nobody else has to offer."

Hours at the new Poco Pattino are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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SunTrust, Walgreens building anew near Britton Plaza 08/13/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 13, 2009 4:30am]
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