Publix grocery seals deal to open in Downtown Tampa Channel District

The popular Lakeland-based supermarket chain Publix is opening a store in Downtown Tampa’s Channel District. The employee-owned grocery and pharmacy closed a deal on the 37,000-square-foot space with Mercury Advisors, owner of the Channel Club condominium complex, at the end of 2018. Build-out of the property, located at East Twiggs Street and North Meridian Avenue, began on January 7.

The Channel District has struggled to define itself for the past decade but the neighborhood is seeing a revival with the development of new residential buildings like Channel Club, food and event spaces like Sparkman Wharf, the new Medical School being built by the University of South Florida, and plans for the design and build out of Water Street Tampa.

Publix was attracted to the district’s walkability, says Mercury Advisors Director Ken Stoltenberg, as well as to its proximity to the Selmon Expressway, which many commuters take on their way to and from work.

Stoltenberg's company has been bullish on the Channel District for more than a decade, opening Grand Central at Kennedy in 2007 and most recently investing $90 million in Channel Club, a new 23-story $90 million mixed-use project.

“Channel District is going to be a walkable urban neighborhood, which was my vision from the beginning, 15 years ago,” Stoltenberg says. “With the Publix going in ... you can get things and do the errands you'd normally do everyday without having to get in your car.

“There's a lot of people that live down there and it's an underserved market at this point,” he adds. “And the demographics are extremely strong as far as population density and income. Folks have a good bit of disposable income and they will spend more at Publix.”

Publix has been expanding its operations in Tampa, recently opening a supermarket on the University of South Florida campus.

The Channel District Publix will likely resemble the Publix near Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Stoltenberg says. Publix hasn’t announced an opening date yet but Stoltenberg projects completion in May 2019.
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Dyllan Furness is a freelance writer and born-again Floridian based in Tampa. He covers the Tampa Bay Area’s development boom for 83 Degrees, with an eye out for sustainable and community-driven initiatives.