The popular Village Center Publix supermarket that closed March 30 has been reduced to rubble, making way for its larger replacement.
Meanwhile, at the south end of the shopping center at the northwest corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Fletcher Avenue, a Walgreens store remains open as walls go up for its new home a few dozen feet away. The standalone concrete-block building – including a prescriptions drive-through that the existing store lacks - is scheduled to open this summer.
The Publix replacement, however, is scheduled to take nine to 10 months to build, according to the Lakeland-based grocery chain. The Village Center store will be about 49,000 square feet, one-third larger than its predecessor.
The larger footprint for the store is possible because the new Publix is absorbing space formerly occupied by tenants on either side, according to Regency Centers Corp. The 50-year-old Jacksonville-based company is owner, operator and developer of 348 grocery-anchored and community shopping center around the country, including 200,000-square-foot Village Center.
Publix systematically has been razing its older stores and building larger ones on the same sites. The Village Center store opened in September 1980.
The Walgreens relocation will allow development of an additional entrance to the shopping center and improve traffic flow to its central section, according to a spokesman in Regency Centers’ Tampa regional office.