Big Lots relocating

Closeout store will move into the former Albertson's site


Dorian Powell sweeps the parking lot of the old Albertson's at 2323 NW 13th St. in preparation for the relocation of Big Lots in Gainesville.

ERICA BROUGH/Special to the Guardian
Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 8:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 8:29 p.m.

Big Lots plans to move to the former Albertson's building on NW 13th Street in June and the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office might move into the current Big Lots location on N. Main Street by the end of the year.

The Supervisor of Elections' move requires County Commission approval.

Big Lots tentatively plans to close the store at 2340 N. Main St. on June 19 and open at 2323 NW 13th St. the next day, said spokeswoman Toni Fink.

The store is leaving Main Street because the lease is up, said Fink, who provided no other reasons.

Big Lots will occupy about 30,000 square feet of the building Albertsons left in fall 2011, leaving about 25,000 square feet for another tenant, according to a flier from KIN Properties of Boca Raton, which is marketing the property.

Renovations are now underway, expected to cost $450,000 according to the building permit.

Lee Cherney of KIN Properties would not discuss prospects for the rest of the space.

Big Lots currently anchors one end of the Northside Shopping Center, with Winn-Dixie on the other.

The Supervisor of Elections Office has wanted more space even before Pam Carpenter took office in 2005. The office has been considering six locations, with the Albertson's building being one of four big-box locations in contention.

Carpenter could not be reached last Monday.

If the Supervisor of Elections Office moves in, it would occupy all the Big Lots space and part of the space that previously housed Ashley Furniture, according to agent Bruce Rider of Bosshardt Realty Services, who has been negotiating the lease.

The Ashley Furniture site has been empty since 2007. Value Pawn and Jewelry took 7,500 square feet of its space when it opened Dec. 31. If the Supervisor of Elections moves in, about 18,000 square feet would remain available, Rider said.

Rider said the elections office would continue to draw traffic to the shopping center.

Major renovations are planned for the center's lighting, paving, landscaping, sidewalks and facade, according to Bosshardt President Aaron Bosshardt.

Big Lots' move provides a bit of good news to the old Gainesville Mall area on NW 13th Street, which has seen numerous long-term vacancies in big-box spaces and Walmart's move on Feb. 1 to a new Supercenter location to the north.

“Certainly it will help the prospects on our building next door,” said Perry Pursell of Coldwell Banker Commercial M.M. Parrish Realtors, the listing agent for the former Sticks ‘N' Stuff building at 2305 NW 13th St.

Pursell said he has no current prospects for the building, but has had a “couple near misses.”

Despite the vacancies, Pursell said there are a lot of households in the area to feed stores such as Lowe's and The Home Depot. The area might be able to draw more discount stores such as Big Lots, he said.

Big Lots offers a broad assortment of closeout and discontinued name brand merchandise at discounted prices. The Columbus, Ohio-based company operates more than 1,400 stores in 48 states.

Customers outside the store last Monday offered mixed opinions on the plan to move.

Amanda Grabau, 32, of Gainesville and Servera Brown, 48, of LaCrosse said the 13th Street location will be more convenient to them.

Lelia Pounders, 72, of Old Town said the current location is more convenient for her while her husband goes to Harbor Freight Tools, which is also in Northside Shopping Center.

Anthony Clark is the Gainesville Sun business editor.

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