AF WIRE — Less than two months after Walden Lakes Golf & Country Club owner Visionary Golf LLC filed a rezone request with Plant City to redevelop a portions of its property for residential use, one of the nation’s largest big-box retailers is making a play for the space.
Target has offered $7.5 million to purchase the golf course, country club and all adjacent amenities, the Plant City Times & Observer has learned. Officials say the company has plans for a 450,000-square-foot SuperTarget location, making it Target’s largest in the Southeast. The store will feature several shopping-mall-like wings that developers say will be the perfect replacement for the existing nature trails within the community.
Moreover, Target also has reached an agreement with Chick-fil-A, which will operate a location at the front of the store, instead of the typical Target snack bar. That agreement also will include a 50-foot-tall neon billboard featuring the fast-food chain’s signature cows.
If approved, the project will take the place of the country club and both golf courses. Parking lots will be constructed on what is now Laurel Lake. The project also will require several new roads to be constructed throughout the community, including a new artery from Sydney Road into the community. Construction trucks and, eventually, supply tractor-trailers, will be routed into the community on Timberlane Drive.
Officials from both companies say the unorthodox move is in response to tens of letters and Facebook posts from Plant City residents asking for their local presence.
Scroll down for additional details, including responses from the Walden Lake Community Association board.
Dear loyal Plant City Times & Observer reader: Happy April Fools’ Day!
Let me be clear: The story, titled “Retailer sets ‘target’ on Walden Lake golf course,” which appeared today on our website, is an April Fools’ Day spoof. It is not true.
I’ll say it one more time: It is not true.
A SuperTarget is NOT going to be constructed in the middle of Walden Lake. Chick-fil-A is NOT going to have a billboard towering over the community.
Because this is only the second April Fools’ Day for the Plant City Times & Observer, we owe you an explanation. Our sister paper, the Longboat Observer, started this tradition 16 years ago, in its print edition. Since then, it has spread to the Observer Media Group’s other papers, including the Sarasota Observer, East County Observer and Pelican Press.
We opted to test the waters with a simple web post. But here is your warning now: At some point, we may try to dupe you in print, as well.
From where we sit, we all could use a laugh now and then. We hope we did that for you with this story.
Whether you enjoyed our spoof or consider us completely immature and unprofessional, send an email to General Manager Michael Eng, email@example.com.