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Developer proposes Sprouts Farmers Market for Land O’Lakes

LAND O’LAKES — A Sarasota developer is proposing to turn a vacant Winn-Dixie store in central Pasco into a Sprouts Farmers Market or similar specialty grocer.

Benderson Development filed preliminary plans Monday with Pasco County to redevelop the former Winn-Dixie store at the northeast corner of State Road 54 and Collier Parkway in Land O’Lakes.

The plans — a request to confer with county planners in what is known as a pre-application meeting — identifies the proposed tenants as a Sprouts Farmers Market, which would fill 33,000 square feet of space, a retail store in 17,500-square-feet on the west side of the grocer and a 16,200-square-foot restaurant and retail store in an out parcel building on the south side of the nearly 9-acre parcel.

Todd Mathes of Benderson Development, who filed the plans, said the company is targeting an organic grocery, but has no signed agreement.

"Something we think is right for that location is specialty grocery,’’ he said. "But, right now, Sprouts is not committed to that site.’’

Sprouts previously announced plans to put a store in Trinity at the Villages at Mitchell Ranch at State Road 54 and Little Road. The retailer currently operates stores in South Tampa, Valrico, Carrollwood and Palm Harbor and has announced plans for stores in Clearwater, Naples, Winter Park, Oviedo, Deerfield Beach and Wellington.

"Florida is a big market for us, obviously. The grocery competition is heating up, but we’ve received a great reception since we came in,’’ said Kalia Pang, spokeswoman for the Phoenix-based Sprouts.

As for a Land O’Lakes location, Pang said, "we have not announced a store in that area yet, so I have no news.’’

Winn-Dixie closed its Land O’Lakes location in April, 20 years after it opened directly across the street from Publix. The property is owned by Benderson’s affiliated company, Buffalo-LOL Business Trust. Benderson’s other holdings include the Ridge Plaza at the corner of Little and Ridge roads in west Pasco that is home to a Hobby Lobby and a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.

Competitors for an organic grocer would include Publix, directly west of the Collier Parkway location, and Earth Fare, which is under construction at the Cypress Creek Town Center north of State Road 56 in Lutz.

Reach C.T. Bowen at [email protected] or (813) 435-7306. Follow @CTBowen2

RELATED: Sprouts to open first Pasco store.

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