The king of the Florida grocery market is being challenged yet again, this time with a proposed development just west of Sanford.

Representatives with Orlando-based Elevation Development LLC (website)met with Seminole County planners in early February to discuss a proposal to build a retail center at the southwest corner of State Road 46 and International Parkway (Gmap). The developer is proposing a 69,475-square-foot retail center on a 17-acre parcel. Approximately 24,000 square feet of space is set aside for a grocery anchor. There would also be six out parcels of about one acre each.

Click to Enlarge. Preliminary site plan for a retail development at the southwest corner of S.R. 46 and International Parkway. Credit: Kimley-Horn
Click to Enlarge. Preliminary site plan for a retail development at the southwest corner of S.R. 46 and International Parkway. Credit: Kimley-Horn

Preliminary documents identify where a grocery store might sit on the property, but they do not identify a tenant. The proposed building size would rule out Publix, whose prototype stores range from 40,000 to 60,000 square feet. Plus, Publix at Lake Forest is already established in the area and is located about 2,000 feet west of the proposed development.

The proposed size is smaller than the Walmart Neighborhood Market prototypes (about 40,000 square feet) and slightly larger than the typical Aldi store (about 18,000 square feet). Plus, there’s an existing Aldi about 2 miles east of the site.

That means Elevation Development is hoping to recruit to their site one of several specialty grocery companies who have moved into the Central Florida market in recent years to challenge Publix’s dominant market share. Niwot, Colo.-based Lucky’s Market LLC; Monrovia, Calif.-base Trader Joe’s; Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market Inc.; and Fletcher, N.C.-based Earth Fare Inc. have either opened stores in metro Orlando or are exploring locations.

The property is located near affluent neighborhoods in Heathrow, Lake Forest, Lake Sylvan and along Markham Woods Road. In addition, it is easily accessible to several new residential developments in the far east section of Lake County that has few retail centers.

Shaman Foradi of Elevation Development declined to provide details about the project.

“It’s too soon to talk at this point. We’re just starting our talks with the county,” Foradi said.

That of course won’t stop the Trader Joe’s disciples from spreading the Gospel that TJ’s is coming to west Sanford. I’ve been hearing that rumor for months, but honestly it’s just way too early to know at this point.

Note: I wrote an earlier version of this story for GrowthSpotter.com, an online publication that identifies early-stage development and commercial real estate transactions.

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