Two development approvals in the summer of 2018 created a lot of excitement for west Bradenton residents but both projects fell silent for months, leaving some to wonder if they were going to happen.
In June, Lucky’s Market announced intentions to demolish the old Albertson’s grocery store and rebuild with its signature design.
One month later, Wawa announced plans to build its third Bradenton location across the parking lot fronting Manatee Avenue, just east of the Suntrust Bank off 75th Street West.
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Though Lucky’s will own its building, both Lucky’s and Wawa had to negotiate ground leases for the properties, which took longer than expected.
According to Catherine Hartley, Planning and Community Development Director, Lucky’s has signed the lease and plans to begin demolishing the Albertson’s building in March.
Those involved with the process speculated Lucky’s was waiting to finalize negotiations to coincide with Wawa announcing construction plans. Wawa has not made that announcement, but recently obtained a site improvement permit to begin engineering the site in anticipation of following up with building permits.
“It appears to me things are still moving forward,” said Marshall McCrary, senior planner for the city. “After getting SIP approval, they are free to apply for building permits.”
Hartely said the site improvement permit approves site engineering, traffic circulation, stormwater and utlities, or essentially the infrastructure of the project.
“It’s the site plan and landscaping plan we review to be consistent with code or any other special approval,” Hartley said. “It is reviewed prior to the issuance of a building permit.”
Neither Lucky’s nor Wawa corporate spokespeople were able to be reached for comment Tuesday.
Albertson’s closed in 2012 as the primary anchor of the Manatee West Shopping Center and only a handful of tenants have survived the aftermath. The arrival of Lucky’s and Wawa is expected to draw a lot of new interest and revitalize the shopping center.
In anticipation of Lucky’s and Wawa coming, plaza owners, BRNK Bradenton LLC, which purchased the plaza in 2013 for $3.5 million, has invested money into a new facade. BRNK Bradenton LLC is linked to Los Angeles-based Balboa Retail Partners, which redevelops shopping plazas and has high-profile retail clients such as Lucky’s, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
BRNK reports there is a lot of excitement brewing for the plaza and three or four new tenants have expressed interest, though a company spokesman was not at liberty to disclose who they are in talks with at this time.
Lucky’s mantra is that shopping for organic food doesn’t have to be pricey and the shopping experience should be fun. The Colorado-based chain’s business model often includes a juice bar, cafe, ramen and sushi bar and an area where shoppers can create their own body scrubs or essential oils.
Lucky’s also often partners with local breweries to offer local flavors.