New Shopping Center in Works for Groveland, Fla.

Jul. 4--GROVELAND -- New commercial development proposed on the east side of town may end long trips to the grocery store.

Alliance Partners LLC has submitted plans for a large shopping center at State Road 50 and County Road 565A that include a 46,000-square-foot Publix supermarket, according to representatives for the developer.

The project would be the only big grocery store within Groveland's borders. It also marks a top goal for city officials who have waited for years to lure more shopping within close reach of their growing population.

Groveland has about 6,000 residents, and the city expects to grow to about 17,000 in the next few years with large residential developments quickly spreading through the area.

"It is a major accomplishment for the city," Mayor James Smith said Monday. "I think it would be a major step forward that our citizens can live, work and shop with a major supermarket right in the community."

Smith said many Groveland residents now drive miles away on busy S.R. 50 to shop for groceries in Clermont, Lake County's most populated city with more than 20,000 residents.

Nearby Mascotte and Minneola also do not have their own supermarkets.

Officials with Publix Super Markets Inc. in Lakeland say they do not comment on new stores unless they have agreements signed with developers. A spokeswoman would not comment Monday about a store in Groveland.

Publix has about 880 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. Last year the company reported retail sales of more than $20 billion.

The chain has 11 stores in Lake County, including four in the Clermont area, three in Leesburg and two in Eustis.

The proposal from Alliance Partners calls for the Publix to anchor a 66,000-square-foot strip shopping center on 18 acres with about 313 parking spaces. The project might include four outparcels to accommodate additional stores -- two along S.R. 50 and another two facing C.R. 565A, said Teresa Greenham, Groveland's community-development director.

Construction also is expected to include a realignment of C.R. 565A where it intersects with S.R. 50 to make the roadway safer.

The state Department of Transportation installed a traffic signal there after a vehicle accident last year that killed a South Lake High School student.

Robert Sargent can be reached at rsargent@orlandosentinel.com or 352-742-5909.

<<Orlando Sentinel, The (FL) (KRT) -- 07/05/06>>

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