Bass Pro Shops officially announces store for Sarasota

acastillo@bradenton.comJuly 8, 2014 

SARASOTA -- It's official: Bass Pro Shops will open a retail center in Sarasota, it's just not where it was expected.

The outdoor retailer announced its future location on the northeast quadrant of Interstate 75 and Fruitville Road. The Bass Pro Shops Outpost store, which will be the company's 14th store in Florida, is set to open sometime in 2016. New locations have already been announced in Tampa, Daytona, Jacksonville and Gainesville.

In mid-June, Bass Pro Shops had plans to build a 140,000 square-foot store beside the Mall at University Town Center. Bid documents showed that the company was soliciting bids for construction and specialty construction jobs for the store.

Plans for the new store are for a smaller 80,000-square-foot Outpost and, according to a news release issued Monday by the company, it will serve as "the primary anchor" for the new 260,000-square-foot, planned mixed-use Fruitville Commons development.

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris said in a written statement that it was an "honor to be part of an exciting development such as Fruitville Commons and the history-rich Sarasota community. Our new Bass Pro Shops Outpost retail attraction will be a tribute to the great sporting tradition and heritage of the region and a celebration of the sporting men and women of Florida," the statement said.

Morris lauded the Fruitville location which fronts I-75.

About 200 full- and part-time associates will be hired to work at the new store, according to the release. The store will feature Uncle Buck's Fishbowl and Grill -- a 20,000-square-foot nautical-themed center within the store featuring twelve bowling lanes. The menu will feature appetizers, sandwiches, salads and burgers, according to a news release.

Walter's Trust sold the land for the retail center.

"Having owned the property for more than 30 years, we are extremely excited that Bass Pro Shops has chosen our site for the home of their latest complex," said David Walters, trustee of the Walters' Trust, in a press release. "The concept of a Bass Pro Shops Outpost store is exactly what was envisioned when the mixed-use Fruitville Initiative was conceived."

In his written statement, Walter added that the megachain's record of conservation and care for the environment is "uniquely suited to leverage the Celery Fields park and recreation area that Sarasota County has created."

A Bass Pro Shops spokeswoman did not respond to questions by deadline Monday.

Amaris Castillo, Law Enforcement/Island Reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. You can follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.

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