April 11, 2013

BJ's chain on track to open Port Orange store this fall

From The Daytona-Beach News-Journal

Thursday, April 11, 2013

By: Clayton Park


Construction of the new BJ's Wholesale Club at Altamira Shopping Village is moving along and the membership warehouse club store is set to open before Thanksgiving, a partner with the development group for the shopping center confirmed on Thursday.

The retail project, valued by the city at more than $9.9 million, is the largest commercial development currently under construction in Volusia County, said Rob Ehrhardt, the county's economic development manager.

Ehrhardt, a Port Orange resident who drives by the construction site on a daily basis, said "It's amazing to see the transformation of the property," which has included major infrastructure improvements by the developer, a partnership called Four Lanes LLC. Those improvements have included relocating an existing storm water drainage canal that previously meandered diagonally through the middle of the shopping center development site.

The canal, moved at the development group's expense, is now located to the rear of the development site, which Chris Challis, a development manager for Four Lanes, said has made construction of the new BJ's store possible.

The other major infrastructure improvement, which is still under way, is the extension of Yorktowne Boulevard through the Altamira Shopping Village property to connect Dunlawton Avenue with Taylor Road. The city, state Department of Transportation and neighboring property owners helped to partially fund the extension of the four-lane road to alleviate existing traffic congestion in the area, said Challis. The road extension project is set to be completed by this fall, prior to the opening of the BJ's store, he said.

All told, Four Lanes — a partnership of Charlotte, N.C.-based Collett & Associates and Oklahoma City-based Sooner Investment, will have paid $7 million on the two infrastructure improvement projects, Challis said.

The BJ's store in Port Orange, which began construction in February, will be the Westborough, Mass.-based retail chain's first store in the Volusia-Flagler area. It will include a gas station that will also be operated by BJ's.

Altamira Shopping Village is also set to become the home of a LA Fitness gym and several small retail stores in a portion of the shopping center that will be called Taylor Road Shops, said Tim Burman, the city's principal planner.

Three of the shopping center's four outparcels are home to businesses that have already opened: a Golden Corral restaurant, CVS pharmacy and Aspen Dental.

Challis said the fact the shopping center, in the works nearly a decade, is in the "home stretch" of its build-out is a testament to the perseverance of its development partners. The project, he said, has endured both the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression as well as the challenges presented by the presence of the canal and the requirement to extend Yorktowne Boulevard. He credited Wayne Clark, the city's community development director, for having worked with the various parties involved to keep the project going.

"At the end of the day, we're going to be very excited to complete this project," Challis said