1. Business

Publix decides against new store at Encore site near downtown Tampa

Published Jan. 30, 2013

TAMPA — Publix has decided not to put a new store at the Encore Tampa urban redevelopment project on the northern edge of downtown.

Tampa Housing Authority chief operating officer Leroy Moore got the news Monday from Tailwinds Development, which has a contract to buy two lots at the 28-acre Encore site for a grocery store.

"Publix gave it a tremendous amount of consideration; we're appreciative of that," Moore said Tuesday. He added that in the end, the supermarket chain made a decision that was right for its business. "We can't second-guess that."

Tampa officials say attracting a grocery store to the central business district is a critically important step in further transforming downtown into an active residential neighborhood.

"We all want a grocery store for downtown," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "Publix, I get the sense, wants to be in downtown. I get the sense the numbers make sense for them to be downtown. I think that eventually it will happen. I can't tell you when."

With Encore out of the mix, "certainly the odds have increased" for a store going to the Channel District, the other area that has received the most attention as a potential downtown grocery site, Buckhorn said.

Publix spokeswoman Shannon Patten said she could not discuss Publix's decisions on Encore or say what other locations might be under consideration.

"We are willing to discuss sites that are approved when we have a fully executed lease or have closed on the property," she said in an e-mail to the Times. "At this time, we cannot confirm or deny if we are looking at any sites in downtown or Channelside area."

Encore's plans call for 794 apartments, plus about 300 to 700 condominiums and up to 268,000 square feet of offices, stores and other uses, including a hotel, museum, school and grocery store.

Publix was the first candidate the housing authority wanted to pursue for that store.

"We think the Publix brand is certainly Florida's grocer of choice," Moore said. "They're complementary of the brand that we're trying to create at Encore."

But that doesn't mean there won't be others.

Moore said Tailwinds Development says it has "other options they're pursuing." Records show those could include high-end grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Sprout, Earth Fair and Neighborhood Market.

In December, the housing authority won a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Encore project.

So far, the housing authority and its co-developer, the Bank of America Community Development Corp., have put in the roads, water lines and other infrastructure, and have finished one apartment building while breaking ground on two more. With the Choice Neighborhoods grant, the authority can start a fourth apartment building.

"Encore has a very, very bright future," Buckhorn said. "Getting the funding for the residential was the most important part of it. Retail will follow residential. Once the private sector knows that the commitment is there to build those towers, I think they will look at Encore with fresh eyes. So if not Publix, then maybe Trader Joe's."


  1. A huge number of homes owned by Baby Boomers will sell in the next 20 years. How will the trend affect the Florida housing market? CAMERON GILLIE  |  NAPLES DAILY NEWS
    The enormous generation born between 1946 and 1964 owns about 40 percent of the homes across the country.
  2. Service dog Eleanor Rigby unexpectedly gave birth to eight puppies at Tampa International Airport as her human family was waiting near gate F81 to board a flight to Philadelphia in May 2018. The airport is getting ready to add pet-relief areas at its airsides for service dogs. (EMILY NIPPS | Tampa International Airport) Tampa International Airport
    Work on the new amenities is expected to be completed by next July.
  3. Developers of a proposed apartment complex near St. Petersburg's Mirror Lake area want to tear down this bungalow and replace it with a ramp to the parking garage. Susan Taylor Martin
    The only access would be via a narrow court lined with vintage houses.
  4. Cooling canals, with Turkey Point nuclear power plant in the background. Miami Herald
    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday announced that it had signed off on Florida Power and Light’s latest application for a 20-year extension.
  5. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Wages rose a solid 3.1% in November compared with a year earlier.
  6. Noah Shaffer of Confidant Asset Management says the restaurant sector in the Tampa Bay area has done well in 2019 and to expect more openings in the coming months. Chick-fil-A Brandon South opened earlier this year.
    So far, the economy appears robust enough to support further expansion, says a local industry professional.
  7. A new retail center and health club are proposed for the Epperson neighborhood in Wesley Chapel, home of the Crystal Lagoon. Preliminary plans show the fitness club near the most eastern edge of the lagoon. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    Ryan Companies proposes grocery, retail stores and health club at neighborhood’s entrance
  8. Jamie Harden of Creative Sign Designs and Maryann Ferenc of Mise en Place discuss priorities for the Tampa Bay Chamber for the coming year. Harden is the outgoing chairman of the chamber. Ferenc is the incoming chairwoman. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times
    Leadership of the organization, formerly the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, also says it could have handled its recent name change better.
  9. The snow park in Pasco County will be known Snowcat Ridge Alpine Snow Park and is scheduled to open in November 2020. Snowcat Ridge Alpine Snow Park
    The park in rural east Pasco anticipates opening in November 2020.
  10. Renderings of the proposed Red Apple Group project show a 20-story hotel on the west side of the block, and a building of about six stories facing Central with parking, shops and offices. The 45-story condo tower rises at an angle on the east side of the block. Courtesy of Arquitectonica
    The $300 million project by Red Apple Group would include a hotel and badly needed parking space.