About 8 businesses may join Save-A-Lot near downtown Bradenton

mvalverde@bradenton.comFebruary 16, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Along with a Save-A-Lot grocery store, eight other businesses may also open a year from now in the triangular lot near 13 Avenue W. and 1st Street, Cary Neil, founder of New Start Community Development, said Wednesday at a town hall meeting in Bradenton City Hall.

Save-A-Lot, a national chain, has not signed a lease yet, but is very interested in the prospect, Neil said.

“Once we get through getting everything in place, I’m confident we’ll fill the other spots,” he said.

The other potential businesses in the area could be a bank, nail salon, or restaurant, Neil said, but resident input is needed in order to determine what may be the best fit for the community.

Residents questioned the developer about traffic, safety and possible displacement as a result of the construction.

Yvette Kimm, who lives near 13 Avenue W., asked if houses would be taken down in order to make space for the project.

“We won’t take anyone’s property,” Neil said. “This is a self-contained lot.”

Paul Rutledge, executive vice president of Casto, the real estate company working on the project, said vehicles going south on 1st Street would also have an entrance to the stores.

In response to questions about safety concerns, he told residents it is expected that traffic will naturally reduce speed once construction starts and once the stores open.

About 70-90 short-term construction jobs will be created as a result of the $6 million project, Neil said. And at least 28 other jobs will also be available once the businesses open, he said.

The 16,000-square-foot grocery store will have an “urban format,” said Timothy Polk, interim director of the Central Community Redevelopment Agency.

The urban format makes the business pedestrian-friendly with the store placed in front of the parking lot. It will also cater to the specific wants and needs of the neighbohood, he said.

“We are not interested in being here,” Neil said at the end of the town hall meeting. “We are excited to be here.”

Another districtwide meeting to discuss the businesses is scheduled for March.

Miriam Valverde, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow on Twitter @MiriamValverde.

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