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Super Wal-Mart construction pushed back

EAST MANATEE — With the exception of several tank trucks spraying water to hold down dust, a Super Wal-Mart construction site was quiet Monday and heavy earth-moving machinery parked.

“We’re pushing back the construction timeframe,” confirmed Michelle Belaire, Wal-Mart’s senior manager of public affairs and government relations of the Wal-Mart construction site at the southeast corner of Interstate 75 and State Road 70. “But don’t read anything into that.”

The company still plans to build the store, she said, but didn’t know immediately how much the original completion schedule might be affected.

Previously, Belaire said the new store was not expected to open until 2011, and that the eventual opening would not result in any current stores being closed.

Wal-Mart spent $11.6 million to buy 41 acres at the site, 8498 E. S.R. 70, according to court records, The Herald previously reported.

The seller was listed as Casvak River Club LLC, of Columbus, Ohio. John Barnott, director of the Manatee County Building Department, said Monday that he had heard that site preparation work was completed, but that construction on the new store would not happen before 2010.

The Wal-Mart is part of the River Club Park of Commerce mixed-use center, which could eventually include restaurants, banks, retail outlets and possibly a hotel.

One of the businesses planned for the park is a Burger King and the building permit was expected to be issued no later than today , Barnott said.

A roadway now connects the River Club Park of Commerce to Ranch Lake Plaza, which is anchored by a Sweetbay super market.

Brett Hutchens, president and chief executive officer for Casto Southeast LLC, of Sarasota, the center’s developer, has previously referred any questions about the Wal-Mart store to the Wal-Mart corporate office.

Hutchens did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the project Monday.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 708-7916.

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