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Pasco Tribune

Plans moving forward for Wesley Chapel Walmart

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Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 01:08 PM
WESLEY CHAPEL -

Seven years after announcing plans for a superstore on State Road 54, Walmart is finally gearing up for construction.

The world's largest retailer has submitted an amended site plan for the 196,150-square-foot store that is slated to go to the Development Review Committee for approval later this month.

"They want to go this month," county planner Gary Willever said. "I don't see why that can't happen."

Walmart has been planning the store just east of the Hollybrook shopping center since 2004 – as the company was breaking ground for the Sam's Club in Seven Oaks. The Wiregrass store was delayed for a variety of reasons: the economy, road construction and litigation. At least two of those holdups are now resolved.

Pasco County will complete the S.R. 54 widening project by the end of the year. In April, Walmart settled litigation between the company, the owners of Wiregrass and the county over road building issues within the development.

"Now that the litigation has been settled, we're just finalizing a few of the conditions," said Debra Zampetti, the county's zoning administrator. "We're really close."

Zampetti said the review should be completed in time for the plan to go before DRC on May 26. Initially, the company planned for the store opening to coincide with the completion of the S.R. 54 widening project, but the new site plan divides the project into two phases. The first phase includes four outparcels fronting on S.R. 54 as well as interior roads and stormwater ponds. The Walmart supercenter is in the second phase.

"They're going to wait until the completion of S.R. 54 to build the actual Walmart store," Willever said.

Walmart already has approved permits for two of the outparcels for Bank of America and Wells Fargo, but Zampetti said she doesn't know if the company still has deals in place with both banks.

Officials with Walmart did not return phone calls for this story.

Walmart has 176 supercenters and employs more than 90,000 people in Florida. At more than 196,000 square feet, the Wiregrass store will be slightly larger than the average supercenter and will have an attached 21,372-square-foot garden center. It will be the third supercenter in Pasco County, joining the stores in New Port Richey and Zephyrhills. Walmart also has traditional stores in Dade City and Land O' Lakes.

lkinsler@tampatrib.com

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