Walmart plans new supercenter at Bearss and Nebraska avenues
NORTH TAMPA - A Walmart Supercenter of nearly 150,000 square feet is planned for the northwest corner of Bearss and Nebraska avenues. A county land-use hearing officer on Tuesday will consider the company's request to erect signage on the site, which already is zoned for commercial development. The 1:30 p.m. meeting is open to public comment. That hearing comes a week after Hillsborough County commissioners denied a zoning change to allow a Walmart Neighborhood Market to be built in Carrollwood. The proposed 41,180-square-foot grocery and adjacent Wawa convenience store/gas station triggered strong opposition from many living near the 10-acre site, a former plant nursery. The plan for the Walmart Supercenter that will have its main entrance on Bearss Avenue is in its infancy. "We are still working out traffic plans with the city and the state at this point, so we are not certain when construction will start," said William C. Wertz, a Walmart spokesman. "We would hope to begin work sometime this summer."The zoning request filed with Hillsborough County planners calls for a store of 147,848 square feet, plus parking for 627 vehicles, on the 19.5 acres. That's almost an entire block between Nebraska Avenue and the Interstate 275 North on-ramp, and from Bearss Avenue north to Sinclair Hills Road. Walmart's plan includes an almost 2-acre parcel on the corner closest to the Nebraska/Bearss intersection for yet-unspecified commercial development. The store would have a grocery, a pharmacy with a drive-thru window, and an attached 8,675-square-foot garden center. It would employ 250 to 300 workers, most of them full time, Wertz said. Walmart is asking to erect signs exceeding county standards. The zoning variance request includes 30-foot-tall pylon signs at both the Nebraska and Bearss avenues entries. The mostly undeveloped property on the site includes Blitzkrieg Paintball Field, 802 E. Bearss Ave. An employee familiar with plans for the site said the operation is prepared to move if the property is sold. Mild to Wild Car Audio, 702 E. Bearss Ave., is outside the Walmart site, according to the development plan. Residents who organized to oppose the Walmart grocery on the northwest corner of North Dale Mabry Highway and Floyd Road favored existing zoning. That allowed 25,000 square feet of offices and 17,000 more of retail space, with 37 town houses to the rear of the acreage. While opponents focused on traffic the commercial operation would funnel through neighborhoods, some said the area already has ample Walmarts. There is a Walmart Supercenter 1.7 miles south of the Floyd Road site; a Walmart at Dale Mabry at Bearss Avenue, 3.3 miles north of the site; a Supercenter at 6192 Gunn Highway, 3.9 miles west; and a Walmart at 8885 N. Florida Ave., 4 miles east. The Supercenter site on Bearss and Nebraska avenues is 4.7 miles from the Carrollwood market site. Walmart has more than 10,500 stores in 27 countries, employing 1.4 million workers in the United States and 2.2 million worldwide, according to a company fact sheet. Tuesday's hearing will be in the second-floor board room of the County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd.
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