Walmart market site planning underway
NEW PORT RICHEY - A Walmart Neighborhood Market store in the Ridge Plaza shopping center, at Ridge and Little roads, is in the planning stages. The smaller Walmart would encompass about 42,000 square feet, according to the site plan filed with the county. That’s less than half the space of the chain’s Supercenter stores in Port Richey, Hudson and the Trinity area. The county received the Walmart site plan May 3 and will accept comments through June 17, Pasco Zoning Administrator Carol Clarke said. The addition of a Walmart and exterior renovations along the southern strip of stores could spur more customers to shop there, developers said.Ridge Plaza includes some large chains, such as Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby, Shapes, Dollar General and the Sioux City restaurant. The Walmart logo already appears in an online brochure from Benderson Development promoting the plaza. Benderson is based in University Park. The brochure cites average traffic counts of 39,000 a day on Little Road and 26,000 along that section of Ridge Road. Other demographics include 60,041 residents within three miles, average household income of $45,464 and five-year growth projections of 13 percent. “Ridge Road is the most heavily traveled thoroughfare in Pasco County,” a blurb reads on the Ridge Plaza page of the Benderson website. The road intercepts traffic from Gulf View Square Mall along U.S. 19 and Pasco-Hernando Community College’s West Campus to the east. If constructed, the new Walmart would occupy much of the space along the northern edge of the shopping center, which is dotted with vacant storefronts. The Walmart site plan includes some demolition. On Sept. 11, 2004, an Eckerd drug store closed in Ridge Plaza as part of a consolidation after CVS bought Eckerd. The building, bordering Little Road at the northernmost entrance, has remained mostly unoccupied since. CVS executives had decided against rebranding the Eckerd location in Ridge Plaza because it was close to the existing CVS store at 7120 Ridge Road.