One of the Greater Brandon area's oldest strip shopping centers has been torn down to make way for a Wawa gas station and food mart at the corner of Bloomingdale Avenue and Lithia-Pinecrest Road.
"Some people may have seen that area as an eyesore, but for those of us who have been here for many, many years, it was a part of our history in the community," said Lisa Rodriguez, a past honorary mayor of Brandon.
"A part of our history has been torn down, to become what, just another gas station?" she added. "And it's not just a gas station. It's a mega-gas station. Is this truly what Brandon wants or deserves?"
The strip center used to be home to Consign DeZigns, Angie's Hair Salon, Weir's Music and Lucky Day Emporium, among other small, mom-and-pop businesses. Also there you could get custom cabinets and alterations and repairs.
According to an earlier Bloomingdale-Riverview Patch report, tenants had been told to move out by March.
Maria Gomes, owner of Consign Dezigns, said her father, Elvin Hansen, has owned the property where she had her consignment shop since 1953. County records show the 3,372-square-foot building was first constructed in 1947.
"They made my father a fair offer and he's sold the property," Gomes said. "It was a situation where the developer wanted all three properties at the intersection."
The other two properties are the newly constructed Verizon Wireless store and Outdoor Impressions.
Wawa is a popular Pennsylvania-based company, featuring fresh, built-to-order sandwiches and salads, soups, hot breakfast sandwiches, freshly brewed coffee along with gas services and ATM machines. The chain has more than 595 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and, most recently, Florida.
Construction currently is under way on a Wawa food market and gas station on the south side of Bloomingdale Avenue, just east of U.S. 301.
Also coming is a Thorntons at the end of Lithia-Pinecrest Road and Brandon Boulevard, to complement a newly opened Thorntons at the corner of Bloomingale Avenue/Progree Boulevard and U.S. Highway 301 in Riverview.
Meanwhile, community activists are lodging a fight to protect the wetlands at the corner of Kings Avenue and Lumsden Road, where under consideration is a RaceTrac gas station and convenience store.
- How Many Gas Stations Are Enough?
- RaceTrac Zoning Passes as Wetlands Issue Looms
- Wawa Eyes Bloomingdale and Lithia-Pinecrest Intersection
- Lucky Day Emporium Is Closed