Earth Fare could anchor Oldsmar’s Woodlands Square Plaza

Representatives for the Woodlands Square Plaza redevelopment said they hope the project, which could feature an Earth Fare grocery store, will be completed by next fall.

An artist’s rendering of the Earth Fare that is tentatively planned for the redeveloped Woodlands Square Shopping plaza in Oldsmar. Credit: City of Oldsmar.

An artist’s rendering of the Earth Fare that is tentatively planned for the redeveloped Woodlands Square Shopping plaza in Oldsmar. Credit: City of Oldsmar.

Big news for the City of Oldsmar: the redevelopment of the Woodlands Square Shopping Plaza could be completed within a year, and it could be anchored by an Earth Fare grocery store.

The news was revealed last week during the Oldsmar City Council meeting, after representatives for RAM Realty Services presented their plans for the Tampa Road plaza, which call for the demolition of some existing structures and the addition of a grocer as well as other retail stores, plus a reworking of the plaza’s parking and landscaping.

When asked for a timeframe for the project, RAM Director of Development Mark Van Dyke said work would start immediately pending final approval of the development agreement next month.

“Upon approval on November 15, we plan on submitting the building permits for the Earth Fare, and we intend on demolishing the two existing retail buildings to accommodate the grocery and the future parking lot on January 3rd,” Van Dyke told the council on October 18.

Representatives for RAM Realty Services revealed their plans for the redevelopment of the Woodlands Square Shopping Center last week. New additions are highlighted in green, while Xs mark the spots slated for demolition. (City of Oldsmar)

Representatives for RAM Realty Services revealed their plans for the redevelopment of the Woodlands Square Shopping Center last week. New additions/areas of improvement are highlighted in green, while Xs mark spots slated for demolition. (City of Oldsmar)

“So the plan is to start the demolition in January, start vertical construction in February, and have all the tenants open by this time next year, or close to Thanksgiving.”

The council lauded the news, particularly the somewhat unintentional reveal of the possible future home of the second Earth Fare grocery store in the Tampa Bay area.

Oldsmar City Council member Gabby McGee.

Oldsmar City Council member Gabby McGee.

“About three years ago I sent a site proposal to Earth Fare for our former Winn Dixie plaza,” Council member Gabby McGee said.

“I do recall that the person that wrote me back from Earth Fare said they were looking at two locations in Tampa Bay that were not in Oldsmar but that were convenient to Oldsmar customers. So I’m glad that they’ve finally come to their senses to consider a location here in the city!”

But a RAM representative was quick to point out that the deal with Earth Fare, a North Carolina based organic grocer with 38 stores in the southeast and midwest, including four in Florida, has not been finalized yet.

An artists rendering of the type of signage that will be utilized at the redeveloped Woodlands Square Shopping Center. Credit: City of Oldsmar.

Proposed signage for the redeveloped Woodlands Square Shopping Center. Credit: City of Oldsmar.

“As soon as we have second reading and can get approval, then announcements can be official,” planner David Smith said. “But until we get that, there’s some contractual agreements that keep that under wraps.”

The comment was met with an amused observation from Mayor Doug Bevis.

“Well, this is going to be on TV, so…” Bevis said.

“That’s why we didn’t mention it,” Smith replied with a smile.

Regardless of which grocer comes to the plaza, Bevis reiterated his feelings about the rejuvenation of the aging shopping center after the meeting.

“It’s great that these new businesses want to be part of this energy we have here in Oldsmar,” the mayor said by phone.

“Woodlands Square is not going to be like every other strip center thanks to these new tenants, and that should help bring a lot of new shoppers to the area.”

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