EAST MANATEE -- A 150,000-square-foot Walmart supercenter is expected to open by next summer at the southeast intersection of Interstate 75 and State Road 70.
Construction was originally expected to be completed this year but the schedule was pushed back, and landscaping and parking areas were completed well ahead of the store.
Tuesday, workers swarmed over the massive store, the first Walmart to be located east of I-75 in Manatee County.
Walmart is expected to take possession of the store from the contractor in March and a grand opening would be held one to three months after that, said Michelle Belaire, Walmart’s senior manager of public affairs and government relations.
Three hundred employees are expected to be hired.
“We will open a temporary hiring center within a five-mile radius of the store to hire directly from the community,” Belaire said.
The hiring center will open 90 to 120 days prior to Walmart taking possession of the building, she said.
The East Manatee store is one of many under construction in Florida.
“We are opening 16 in Florida this year,” Belaire said.
Walmart paid $11.6 million for the 41-acre site at 8498 State Road 70 E., the Herald previously reported.
The seller was Casvak River Club LLC of Columbus, Ohio.
The new store is located in the River Club Park of Commerce site. One of the first businesses to open in that area was a Burger King restaurant.
The new store will be Walmart’s sixth supercenter in Manatee County. The other stores are located at Lockwood Ridge Road and University Parkway; at I-75 and S.R. 64; at S.R. 70 and U.S. 301; at 5315 Cortez Road; and at 5013 10th St. E., Palmetto.
“Anytime that you have jobs coming into an area, and is something that spurs economic activity, that is a positive development. They are all jobs and they all fit the needs of someone very well,” said Craig Cerreta, a board member of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance. “It’s a good positive all the way around.”
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.