Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

Walmart reveals plans for Bay Pines supercenter

SEMINOLE — Discount giant Walmart wants to build a supercenter on the site of the former Bay Pines Mobile Home Park.

The company has submitted preliminary plans for Seminole city staff to review, a process that could take at least three to four weeks. Once any kinks are worked out, Walmart can submit final plans and apply for a building permit.

Discussions have been ongoing for six to eight months between Seminole and Walmart representatives about the retailer's plan to build on the old mobile home site as part of a larger mixed-use development that would include homes and businesses. The city wanted to make sure, among other things, that the architecture would not be that of a typical Walmart but would have a Mediterranean flair to blend with the design of Bay Pines VA Medical Center across the street.

"We did have a bit of resistance on the architectural style but we did come to an agreement over time," Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds said.

It is unclear if this will be the only Mediterranean-style Walmart in the nation. Company representatives could not be reached for comment.

Edmunds said another point of discussion concerned landscaping. The former mobile home park, 10005 Bay Pines Blvd., was known for its 422 oak trees. Neighbors and environmentalists were horrified when most of the oaks and other trees and vegetation were taken down to make way for the overall development.

The Walmart proposal, however, shows the company plans to plant 24 wild date palms plus another 577 trees, including 37 red maple, 69 Southern magnolia, 124 Southern live oaks and 29 weeping willows.

The trees would surround a large building — 198,800 square feet — facing east toward 100th Way N. The square footage includes 1,300 for a liquor store and 4,000 for a garden center. The store would also have a pharmacy, grocery, deli/bakery and vision center.

The plans show 779 parking spaces — 32 marked for disabled parking. Abutting 100th Way would be a 1,200-square-foot gas station with 16 fueling stations.

It is unclear what will happen to the Walmart at Tyrone Boulevard and Park Street, a bit less than 2 miles away. Walmart tried several years ago to expand that store to a supercenter but was unable to get the necessary permits. The chain dropped the idea and representatives said then that it might not be possible to expand that store.

Edmunds said the Tyrone store did not come up in discussions with Walmart, but that staff members have heard from store employees that they will be moving.

Once built, the Bay Pines Walmart complex will occupy 18.2 acres, or about 30 percent, of the 60-acre site and serve as the hub of a larger mixed-use development.

A 330-unit apartment complex is being built on the north and northwestern portions of the site. The first apartments at the Courtney at Bay Pines are nearing completion and ContraVest is taking applications from potential residents at thecourtneyatbaypines.com. The complex has one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and advertises itself as pet friendly, boasting of having a pet washing station complete with blow dryer on the second floor of the clubhouse. Rents will start at $960 per month.

Site work is already under way north of the Walmart for a small subdivision of 55 to 56 single-family homes, Edmunds said. The homes, which will also have a Mediterranean style, are being built by KB Home Tampa LLC. KB bought a portion of the former mobile home park from KE Bay Pines Properties LLC in March for $2.8 million, Pinellas property records show.

The overall site also has spaces for a bank, restaurants and a hotel, although no plans for any of those have been submitted. Seminole plans to build a fire station there in the future.

Development of the property has been a long time coming.

It was once a community for seniors who lived in 550 tree-shaded mobile homes. Developer John Loder bought the land in May 2006 for $38.5 million. Loder's Bay Pines LP evicted the residents to make way for 800 upscale townhomes. But Loder went under and the land remained vacant until 2010 when Kitson & Partners, of Palm Beach Gardens, bought the site for $7.65 million. Kitson is developing the property under the name KE Bay Pines Properties LLC.

The Seminole City Council approved Kitson's first plans in January 2011, a step that got the development ball rolling.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.

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