Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lowe's May Be Coming

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lowe's May Be Coming

Article excerpt

Byline: R. Michael Anderson, County Line staff writer

Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse could become the next major business to occupy one of the busiest intersections in Clay County -- Kingsley Avenue and Blanding Boulevard, where 100,000 vehicles cross almost every day.

Plans have been launched to build a Lowe's on the site of a former Publix Supermarket in the Kingsley Square shopping center at the northeast corner of the intersection, directly across the street from Orange Park High School.

The giant retailer, with more than 800 stores in 43 states, has not submitted any specific building plans yet, but company agents have met with county officials to discuss the project in general terms.

"They sounded pretty anxious to get started," Building Director Tom Martinson said Friday. "I look for them to come in pretty soon for building permits."

A couple of years ago, Lowe's found a site on County Road 220 in Eagle Harbor, where it had planned to build a store, but later backed out. A Home Depot was built on the site instead.

Corporate officials in Lowe's home office in North Carolina have not released any information about a proposed new store in Orange Park, or anywhere else in Clay County. Until the company is ready to make a formal announcement, there will be no comment, said spokesman Matt Van Vleet.

"We look at hundreds of sites all over the country," Van Vleet said. "We built 121 stores in 2001 and 123 in 2002. And we're opening 130 new stores this year."

Despite the company's reluctance to publicly discuss any intentions for Clay County, the project received an initial review at a Dec. 5 meeting of the county's Development Review Committee, a broad-based panel that examines proposed developments from various perspectives.

All significant residential and commercial developments must undergo a thorough review by the committee, which is comprised of representatives from the county's engineering, public safety, public health, public works and planning and zoning departments, as well as the Clay County School Board, Florida Department of Transportation and Clay County Utility Authority. …

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