by Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
PORT ORANGE -- A Publix Supermarket on the west side of the city will be torn down this spring -- to make way for a larger Publix.
The grocery chain's 40,500-square-foot store at Westport Square Shopping Center, at the intersection of Taylor Road and Williamson Boulevard, is scheduled for demolition after Easter to allow for the construction of a new 49,500-square-foot store that should be open before Thanksgiving, City Planner Tim Burman said.
"The new building will be larger than the existing store and similar in size and layout to the store recently rebuilt at Dunlawton Square (at Dunlawton Avenue and Nova Road)," Mr. Burman said in an e-mail statement.
City staff does not have a specific construction schedule in place yet, and the development team did not yet provide information on who has been contracted to demolish the existing building and construct the new supermarket.
The Westport Square Publix expansion project also calls for the reshaping of a retention pond along Taylor Road to provide more parking for the shopping center, Mr. Burman said. He added the exterior of the remainder of the shopping center, whose tenants include a liquor store, a dry cleaner, Hair Cuttery, Flapjacks & More and a Subway sandwich shop, would be upgraded to match the architectural design of the new Publix.
A spokesman for Publix could not immediately be reached for comments on specifics about the demolition or the new building.
At least one local resident who regularly shops at the Westport Square Publix said the supermarket's closing would be an inconvenience.
Jennifer South said she does part of her grocery shopping at this Publix location, which is two minutes away from her family's residence. Closing the Westport Square location to build a larger supermarket didn't make sense to her because "there's already a bigger one down the road," referring to the Dunlawton Square location.
"We're going to have to drive further for another Publix," she said. "It takes you out of your way."
It wouldn't be the first time Ms. South's family would have to alter shopping plans to work around a Publix store closing. She said her mother, who lives in DeLand, had to drive across town to do her grocery shopping when the Publix at the Northgate Shopping Center on West International Speedway Boulevard closed for repairs after a plane struck its roof last year.
Ms. South said she would likely do most of her grocery shopping at the Super Target a mile away from the shopping center once Publix closes for expansion.
"I live near Target," she said. "I'll shop there when (Publix) closes."