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Center’s changes may be delayed

Changes to the Raceway Plaza shopping complex may be delayed further, because of a recent disagreement between a retailer and the complex’s owners.

Scott commissioners unanimously agreed to delay a vote on the expansion of the Shop n’ Save supermarket for 30 days after a representative of the center threatened last week to withdraw support for the project.

Kevin Sims, director of development services for the Glimcher Group, the partnership that owns Raceway Plaza, asked the commissioners to table a final vote allowing the Shop n’ Save expansion until SuperValu, the store’s owner, agrees in writing that it will go through with the project.

SuperValu, under terms in its lease, was able to prevent construction of a Wal-Mart Super Center, where groceries are sold along with other merchandise, by agreeing to expand its current store at Raceway Plaza. Wal-Mart later agreed to build a smaller, traditional store that won’t sell groceries. The store now is expected to be built next year at the site of the adjacent Raceway Plaza South center.

Sims said SuperValu, as of Tuesday, hadn’t signed a document promising to proceed with the expansion once Glimcher demolished a vacant bank building on the site.

Glimcher doesn’t want to take on the expense of demolishing the old Landmark Bank Building without a guarantee that the site would be redeveloped, Sims said.

SuperValu representative David Lynn, who also appeared before the commission, didn’t explain why the supermarket refused to sign the document. He said under the terms of the lease SuperValu had the right to expand, but Glimcher had the right to consider the project for as long as six months before construction could begin.

“We want it to happen sooner than six months from now,” Lynn said.

Scott Solicitor Robert McTiernan told Lynn and Sims the commission was not in the business of intervening in landlord-tenant disputes, and that he might be forced to advise commissioners to reject the entire project if the two sides could not quickly come to an agreement. But he told Lynn he could not advise the commission to approve the project if the landlord was withdrawing support for it.

Lynn told commissioners SuperValu did not want the project scrapped and promised his company would work with Glimcher to resolve their differences in time for a vote on the project next month.

Earlier this month, Scott’s planning commission approved the expansion, with the understanding that SuperValu would allow construction of a traffic barrier in its parking lot to allow a smoother flow of traffic into the new, adjacent Wal-Mart store.

It was unclear whether SuperValu would allow construction of the barrier if the supermarket expansion doesn’t occur. Meanwhile, Collier officials still are waiting for Wal-Mart to submit official plans for an access road that would connect the Raceway Plaza South shopping center to Collier Town Square, which is also along Route 50.

“We think it’s a good idea. It would keep traffic off of the main highway. But we have not had anything formal submitted to us,” said Collier Planning Commission member Jim Hunt.

“I believe it is still being considered. As a planning commission, we have been looking to have this happen,” he added.


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