LAND O’ LAKES — Do-it-yourselfers will soon have another local place to purchase everything from pressure washers to patio furniture to power saws.
A Lowe’s Home Improvement warehouse that was initially expected to open in 2009 is now scheduled to open this winter on State Road 54, just east of Land O’ Lakes Boulevard.
The Fortune 500 company is expected to create 125 jobs at the location on the south side of S.R. 54, near a Pasco County fire station and the Encore RV Park.
The location is across the road from Village Lakes Shopping Center, where the grand opening of a new Marshalls department store is scheduled for May 15.
Such commercial activity is a sign of improving economic times to Dennis Esber, president of the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce.
“We’ve been doing quite a bit in recent years” to promote business in the area, said Esber, who runs Point to Point Printing in Land O’ Lakes. “People have been negating this area for a long time, but it’s starting to change. People are starting to recognize that Lutz-Land O’ Lakes is a great area to be in and always has been.”
Across the road, Esber said that Village Lakes seemed to languish after Walmart left in 2009. The parking lot never seemed full and even the landscaping suffered, he said. However, the new Marshalls will now join rival retailers Ross Dress For Less and Bealls in the shopping center.
“It was already home to established restaurants such as Benedetto’s and Pizza Inn,” Esber said of Village Lakes.
At one point, the Lowe’s deal seemed all but dead. The North Carolina-based company bought the 42-acre tract in 2005 for $2.7 million. The company announced in 2008 that the store would open the following year. Those plans were scuttled because of the economic downturn and other reasons.
Natalie Turner, a Lowe’s spokesperson, said that the new store will likely be about 150,000 square feet, including a garden center.
The Land O’ Lakes location will be Lowe’s third in Pasco, as there are now stores on Gall Boulevard in Zephyrhills and Little Road in New Port Richey.
John Walsh, vice president of the Pasco Economic Development Council, said that the agency has “noticed that there’s some pent-up demand that retailers are responding to,” around the county, but he did not know particulars of the Lowe’s deal.
“There was such a halt (in development) for so long that demand has built back up,” he said.