EAST MANATEE -- Drivers who exit the interstate at State Road 64 and head east could soon have a new option for filling their tanks.
Vacant land at S.R. 64 East and Lena Road was recently purchased by the corporation that owns the RaceTrac gas station chain.
Racetrac Petroleum Inc. bought the 2.75-acre vacant property from Edith D. Butler for $1.5 million, Manatee County property records show.
Butler applied in October for a permit to build a convenience store/gas station on the property, and a zoning change was approved in November, according to online planning records.
The property, at 8100 S.R. 64 E., is across the street from one of the entrances to the Heritage Harbour master-planned community.
Heritage Harbour resident Joyce Sandy said she wouldn't mind having a new gas station so close.
"I think it would be a good thing, just because it'll provide some competition," she said. "I think the convenience factor is certainly there."
The closest existing gas station is a Mobile at S.R. 64 and Portal Crossing, about 1.2 miles to the east.
A Shell and another RaceTrac are about 2.6 miles to the west, on the other side of the interstate.
The company hopes to open the new store by the end of the year, it said in a statement to the Herald.
The new RaceTrac is expected to add about 20 new jobs, according to company spokeswoman Amanda Rodriguez. The convenience store will feature more than 4,000 retail and grocery items and will include an expansive coffee bar, 24-hour Swirl World frozen yogurt and free WiFi, she added.
RaceTrac also has gas stations at 5410 14th St. W. and 111 12th Ave. E. in Bradenton and 1730 U.S. 41 N. in Palmetto.
In addition, developers are trying to gain approval to build a RaceTrac in Whitfield Estates in southern Manatee but have been met with some opposition from residents there.
Atlanta-based Venture Construction Co. is the contractor for the State Road 64 RaceTrac project.
A call to the company's Tampa office was not returned Wednesday.
Jason Bartolone, East Manatee Editor, can be reached at 941-745-7011. Follow him on Twitter @JasonBartolone.