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Publix opens Sarasota store, its 12th new location this year

The Lakeland grocer's new store is the first in the new Benderson-developed Fruitville Farms project.

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 5:30 p.m. April 11, 2024
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Publix Super Market’s new store is the first in the new Benderson-developed Fruitville Farms project in Sarasota.
Publix Super Market’s new store is the first in the new Benderson-developed Fruitville Farms project in Sarasota.
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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Publix Super Markets has opened a Sarasota store in a newly developed center that eventually will house the county government’s new administrative offices.

The Lakeland-based grocer’s new 48,387-square-foot store — one of three it is opened this month — is in Fruitville Farms, a mixed-use center being built by Manatee County-based Benderson Development.

Benderson, in a statement announcing the opening, says Publix is the first tenant in the development at the intersection of Fruitville Road and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.

But it won’t be alone for long. The center, when complete, is expected to have 150,000 square feet of restaurants and retail space and 600 multifamily units.

It will also be the site of the new 120,000-square-foot Sarasota County Administration Center. The county is building its new offices in that space after selling its previous building and two adjacent parking lots on Ringling Boulevard in 2021 to Benderson for $25 million.

Sarasota County commissioners decided to sell after learning it would cost $32 million to upgrade it and maintain the then 35-year old through 2031.

Benderson, founded in 1949, is a prolific local developer that’s grown into a national player with a portfolio that includes more than 800 properties in 41 states totaling more than 55 million square feet.

In September, the developer bought two Publix-anchored shopping centers in a six-week period. One of those was the Olde Village shopping center at 55 N. Indiana Ave. in Englewood. The other was in Pompano Beach.

As for the new Sarasota store, it is one of three Publix is opening in Florida this month. That includes a 39,600-square-foot store in Homestead that opened April 4 and a 38,127-square-foot store that opened Thursday in Palm Beach County.

Thus far this year, Publix has opened 12 stores, including one each in Tennessee and Georgia. In all, it operates 1,374 stores in eight states. Of those, 870 are in Florida.

According to its most recent earnings report released March 1, sales for the fourth quarter of 2023 were down 4% to $14.7 billion when compared with the same period the previous year.

The company blamed the decline on there being one less week in the quarter, saying if the additional week had been excluded sales would have been up 2.8%.

Sales for the entire year were up 4.7% to $57.1 billion when compared with the previous year.



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the deputy managing editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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