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Causeway Plaza Walmart Rumor Just Not True, City Says

So what are the plans for the future of Causeway Plaza?

First published on Dunedin Patch Friday, June 14, 2013 at 6:08 p.m.
By Local Editor Katie Dolac

Have you heard the one about Walmart moving into Causeway Plaza?

It's a rumor that spread rapidly among residents in the past week.

Inquiries have poured into Dunedin Patch in recent days from readers eager to learn what's to become of the 1970s-era shopping center, which serves as the gateway to Honeymoon Island State Park.

Some residents claimed the mega-retail chain signed a 25-year lease, still others say they heard Walmart bought the shopping center and intends to move into the Sheriff's Youth Ranch Thrift Store and Family Fitness.

Although the shopping center seems like it would appeal to a chain like Walmart, what with an expansive 566-space parking lot and 116,800 square feet of leasable space, city officials have spoken in the past of economic studies that show the Causeway corridor just doesn't provide the financial promise that attracts big retailers like Target and Walmart.

Finding truth to the rumor proved difficult Friday afternoon.

"Have not heard of any such transaction," Bob Ironsmith, the city's economic and housing development director, wrote in an email to Dunedin Patch.

A Walmart spokesperson was not available for comment Friday afternoon. 

Property records also show the shopping center has not changed hands since it was purchased in 1997.

The Pinellas County Property Appraiser, an office that maintains records of all land sales in the county, could not locate any recent transactions involving property owner Walvekar Florida Properties, LLC, a corporation registered to Vijay Walvekar of Michigan and Palm Harbor.

The city does have long-term plans to develop the plaza, as expressed during a January 2011 city workshop.

Any redevelopment would be similar in spirit to the apartment-retail block proposed for the vacant Gateway property in downtown Dunedin, city planners have said.

Dunedin leaders have already set zoning and codes that would support low-rise buildings and mixed residential and commercial uses on the causeway and other corridors.

The city's long-term vision for the Causeway is contained in a 2005 study:

Results from the community vision workshops suggest this area become a “gateway” to Honeymoon Island or, at the least, an activity center. The Causeway Plaza Shopping Center at the corner of Causeway Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard is at the end of its intended life cycle and represents an opportunity for redevelopment able to introduce support uses and urban space that would satisfy the need for a mixed-use activity center. 

Recommendation:

Change the Shopping Center (SC) and General Business (GB) zoning designations to Residential/Office/Retail (ROR), thus enabling the four corners of the gateway area to redevelop into a mixed use center.

So is Walmart coming? Not likely and not any time soon.

Related Coverage:

  • Causeway Could Get Makeover

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June Kovac June 15, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Please,NOT ANOTHER WALMART! They're like a cancer in America. City leaders,don't encourage this or let it happen-it brings down property values and stigmatizes the town,(in a bad way).
Cecilia June 16, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Rumors rarely get started without at least some truth. Given the city planners/engineers/elected officials prepensity toward absolutely loving Dollar General Stores, Dunedin residents should be very very concerned about this rumor!! Three Dollar General Stores and a Walm-Mart - all within two miles of one another. WOO-HOO! Welcome to Discount Dunedin : (
June Kovac June 16, 2013 at 02:20 PM
yes,Cecilia,I agree. I was FLABBERGASTED when I learned Dunedin was promoting ANOTHER Dollar store for Dunedin...cheez! Can we raise our standards and solicit for some upscale stores or businesses for Dunedin? IF there are plans for a WalMart,I will vote against it,and the Dunedin citizens should have a say in what plans are-WE live here too.
Cecilia June 17, 2013 at 05:14 PM
You really think the citizens of Dunedin will have ANY input if they decide to put in a Wal-Mart? The citizens had none with regard to the Dollar General Store that is being built on San Christopher Road, and it is only a Dollar General Store. Imagine the leverage that Wal-Mart has. Welcome to Discount Dunedin - three Dollar General Stores, a Family Dollar and now (possibly) Wal-Mart - all within a very small area- delightful, don't you agree? It is sad that this is what is coming into our little city - certainly no charm in these establishments.
Victoria Kearney June 18, 2013 at 01:14 PM
I moved here because of the small town warmth, dog loving downtown, and artsy feel. A Wally World would prompt me to move out of the area when my lease is up. I LOVE Dunedin as it is and prefer to stay as long as I can just like it is. I vote NO to Wal-Mart!

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