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SweetBay planning to relocate to vacant Publix in downtown

By Staff | Oct 2, 2009

SweetBay Supermarket will move from its current location on Leonard Street to the empty space formerly occupied by Publix on Cape Coral Parkway East.
The announcement was made Wednesday by Commercial Property Southwest Florida, an affiliate of Cushman and Wakefield.
Gary Tasman, who helped to negotiate the deal, said the supermarket chain plans to renovate not only the store, but the parking lot too.
According to Tasman, the parking lot will be redesigned and repaved, and the store will have a complete facade renovation.
Though the move will not be complete for more than a year, Tasman speculates that it will spark a retail boom in downtown Cape Coral.
“The commitment the developer has made will spur a significant redevelopment of the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency),” he said. “This is the single most important retail space, and will create demand to redevelop other parts of the CRA.”
It is unknown what will become of the space on Leonard Street to be vacated by SweetBay. Community Redevelopment Agency Director John Jacobsen speculated that a big box retailer might take up the location.
While he did not say which type of business, Jacobsen said it would probably be something “complimentary” to the CRA.
SweetBay will utilize the CRA’s facade grant program, allowing it to upgrade the storefront.
“We’re delighted to see that shopping center being rehabbed,” Jacobsen said. “We’re definitely looking forward to working with them.”
The new SweetBay will occupy 36,320 square feet of retail space in the Shops of Cape Coral Plaza, which sits on 7.55 acres.
SweetBay’s sales increased dramatically following Publix’s move to the old Albertson’s location on Cape Coral Parkway. Tasman said its sales increased more than 55 percent, a figure that bodes well for the new location once it opens.
He added that the CRA has more need for new retail and SweetBay is a step in the right direction.
“There should be no question the CRA is alive and well,” Tasman said.