If I drank a shot of whiskey every time someone told me in recent weeks that Trader Joe’s is coming to Lake Mary … well it wouldn’t be pretty.

So is it true? Probably not, but there is a tiny kernel of truth in the rumor.

Here’s the deal:

Orlando-based Unicorp National Developments Inc. (website | Facebook) is a large commercial developer that brought the first Trader Joe’s to Central Florida.

Griffin Farm Town Center site
Griffin Farm Town Center site

The company is finalizing plans for a $200 million mixed-use project on 35 acres in Lake Mary. It’s tentatively named the Griffin Farm Town Center because the project will be built on the Griffin family cattle farm at the southwest corner of Lake Mary Boulevard and Longwood/Lake Mary Road (Gmap).

The project is slated to have 200 single-family homes, 300 apartments and 120,000 square feet of retail space. Unicorp’s president, Chuck Whittall, says part of that retail space will be a niche/organic grocery store.

A-ha! That means Trader Joe’s is coming, right?

“Not likely,” Whittall told my former colleague Anjali Fluker from the Orlando Business Journal.

However, a number of specialty grocery stores are looking to break into the Central Florida market and challenge Publix. Representatives from Sprouts Farmers Market (website | Facebook), Lucky’s Market (website | Facebook) and Earth Fare (website | Facebook) are all scouting  locations in the region according to Anjali’s reporting.

More details about the project are coming soon. Lake Mary City Planner Steve Noto said his staff has been working with Unicorp on the plans. Noto expects the Planning and Zoning Board will begin reviewing plans at the March 8 meeting.

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