Construction is about to begin on the Kash n' Karry grocery store that will anchor the new Seminole Oaks shopping center.
The $8-million project is being built on the site of the old Columbia University General Hospital at 10200 Seminole Blvd. The hospital closed in 1997 after 22 years, and the property had sat mostly vacant since.
Commercial Net Lease Realty Inc. in Orlando purchased the land in 2002 and later tore down the buildings, which had been an eyesore that city officials were glad to eliminate.
The grocery is scheduled to open in early November, said Chris Barry, vice president of corporate communications for Commercial Net. The official groundbreaking for the grocery store is scheduled for Friday, a ceremony that marks the actual beginning of construction.
The Kash n' Karry will cover 44,455 square feet and be one of the chain's prototypes, similar to the one that will be built in the Midtown area of St. Petersburg.
That means brighter colors, jazzier layouts and upgrades in some offerings, such as wine. Seminole Oaks also will have a Kash n' Karry liquor store next to the grocery.
The grocery chain announced this month that it was closing a number of its stores in Florida. But one of the areas it decided to stay in and concentrate resources on was Tampa Bay. Here, existing stores will be remodeled and new ones built.
"I don't think there was any discussion ever of this particular site being jeopardized," Barry said. The Midtown store in St. Petersburg also is going forward.
Kash n' Karry will have 60 full-time workers and 40 who are part time, Barry said.
Seminole Oaks probably will have 12 stores, and developers have said they are looking for typical neighborhood retailers to join Kash n' Karry, such as restaurants, a card shop, video store or hair salon.
Barry said Subway and Little Caesars are also lined up for the center.