As we’ve reported before, Wesley Chapel is getting a new Publix off S.R. 54, right across Wiregrass Ranch Blvd. from the Wesley Chapel Walmart.
And, guess where the old Publix, which is just a skip, jump and a hop away in the nearby Hollybrook Plaza on S.R. 54 and Bruce B. Downs Blvd., is headed?
In fact, starting next year, the Hollybrook Plaza Publix will be beginning renovations.
That will probably be news to you, and a good many others, including us. After years of being told, and dutifully reporting, that the Hollybrook Publix would be “moving” or “relocated,” to make way for the new store, we, well, stand corrected.
“You (wrote) that the current location was closing,” says Hannah Herring, the marketing manager for Publix Supermarkets Inc., “and that is actually not happening. We’re keeping that one (in Hollybrook) open, and we’re opening another.”
That is definitely new news. We reported in September that the new Wiregrass Ranch Publix had filed plans with Pasco County for a new 60,548-sq.-ft. center, which would be anchored by a 48,848-sq.-ft. grocery store, which is correct.
But, the opening of the new store does not mean the end of the larger (60,632-sq.-ft.) Hollybrook location, which was built in 1997.
The store closing was something we had reported many times over the years. In 2015, we were told by developers at an old Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC)’s Economic Development Briefing that the Hollybrook Publix would be “relocating.” It has been repeated and reported a few times since.
“That was the story,” says Hope Kennedy, the CEO of the old WCCC and now of the North Tampa Bay Chamber (NTBC). “That was my understanding.”
Heck, there was even a rumor floating around that the whole plaza might be razed once Publix was gone in an effort to design an intersection at S.R. 54 and BBD that actually works and would decongest traffic.
Instead, it appears that S.R. 54 in Wesley Chapel will be home to two of the closest Publix grocery stores (to each other) anywhere. According to Google Maps, there’s only about a half mile between the two grocery stores if you take the roads, or a 10-minute walk.
“As it stands, we’ll have two locations, and one is going to be fairly close to the other one,” Herring says. “I’m not sure if it’s the closest, but we do have some locations that are really close to each in some areas.”
New Tampa, for example, has three Publix stores of its own. The New Tampa Blvd. location on BBD is less than five miles from both the Morris Bridge Rd. and Tampa Palms locations.
And, according to the Publix website, there are 15 Publix stores within 12 miles of the 33544 zip code in Wesley Chapel. Considering that Publix has 836 locations in Florida and is known almost as much for its level of saturation as is Starbucks, it does make sense.
Jim Hoff, who owns the Sonny’s BBQ just in front of the Hollybrook Plaza (on the BBD side), said he always thought the day would come that the Publix behind his restaurant would be replaced by the newer Publix once it was built.
He’s glad to hear that is not the case.
“This is the first I’m hearing that it is staying,” says Hoff. “We’re pretty established where we are, but would it have hurt a little? Yes. Publix is Publix. Having it there can only help us.”