By Tamas Mondovics
The rumor circulating among Bloomingdale area residents and neighboring Walmart store employees of a new, much bigger store to be built within the community is officially over.
Hillsborough County officials confirmed that the retail giant, Walmart, is in fact planning to build a new store on Bloomingdale Ave. on a vacant field adjacent to the Bloomingdale Regional Library, directly across Blowing Oak St.
Patrick Murray with the Hillsborough County’s ‘The Center’ for Development Services Infrastructure and Development Services Team confirms that Walmart has filed paperwork for county approval.
On its application, Murray explained, Walmart listed its request for approval for a 158,800 sq. ft. store with 720 proposed parking spaces with a total acreage of 43.52 acres, ruling out the idea of a smaller neighborhood market that averages about a third of that size.
County officials said that the project also includes five out-parcels aside from the main shopping center.
Executive Planner, Frank G. Breaux, also with County’s ‘The Center’ for Development Services explained that the project is currently in for Preliminary Site Plan review.
“The current status is listed as ‘Insufficient for Review,’ meaning that additional information is being requested in order to continue the review process,” Breaux said. “There is, therefore, no Site Plan approval at this point.”
Hearing the news about the new Walmart store, local community advocate, George Niemann, wondered about the necessity of the project. He expressed some preliminary concern about the impact such a store would affect the roadways and the community.
“To tell you the truth, I am a bit puzzled; do we really need another Walmart?” Niemann asked, adding that the biggest immediate problem could be the additional traffic on the already busy roadway, especially during rush hours.
While there is no word on a time-frame of building start-date, or any time frame of the project, Murray said that residents may, in fact, see the new store built in the neighborhood relatively soon.
“Some projects stretch out for years after submission of the plans, but with a company like Walmart, things seem to go quickly,” Murray said.
For more information about the project, please visit the www.hillsboroughcounty.org.