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Walmart Neighborhood Market expects to land at revamped Pinellas Park shopping center

PINELLAS PARK — If the City Council gives the final nod on Thursday, a Walmart Neighborhood Market will be built at 7500 66th St., where a shopping center now sits at the northwest corner of 66th Street and Park Boulevard.

Most of the shopping center will be demolished to make way for the 41,000-square-foot store. About 20,000 square feet of the existing space will remain to house other retail and 1,800 square feet will be added to that, said Tom Shevlin, assistant city manager. Tenants have been told the Dollar Tree will move from its existing space to the north end of the shopping center and will remain open during construction.

If Walmart receives the necessary approvals, it will pick a Florida general contractor next year and the store will open in fall of 2013, according to company spokeswoman Michelle Azel Belaire. A Walmart Neighborhood Store is a no-frills grocery store that sells a wide array of items and includes a bakery and deli.

"That's going to be kind of nice," said Ratko Saranovic, a shopper recently coming out of Dollar Tree with three kids in tow.

Misty Lynch is owner of Lynch's Liquor & Cigars, one of few remaining tenants in the strip center. She said she hasn't heard if she will be asked to relocate within the center or have to move out. "If the Walmart has a liquor store then I know we would have to move out," Lynch said. The store, which advertises it is open 365 days a year through all holidays and hurricanes, has been there eight years.

The Walmart will employ between 80 and 100 people. The average full-time hourly employee in Florida makes $12.23, Belaire said. There are 92,000 Walmart employees throughout the state.

Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at (727) 893-8785 or kssmith@sptimes.com.

Walmart Neighborhood Market expects to land at revamped Pinellas Park shopping center 10/08/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 7, 2011 1:08pm]
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