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Tractor Supply chain eyes former Food Lion space

The former Food Lion grocery store space in the Cornerstone Shopping Center in Macclenny may soon be occupied by the farm and ranch products retailer Tractor Supply Co.

The property owner, Yormaco-Cornerstone, LLC, has petitioned the City of Macclenny to rezone the property to accommodate the new store. Renovation plans were submitted previously.

The Macclenny City Commission will consider on September 11 rezoning about 8.6 acres at the northwest corner of Willis Hodges Road and South 6th Street from Commercial General to Planned Unit Development, or PUD.

PUD is a flexible zoning category in which many of the development restrictions ­— on things like setbacks, landscaping and signage — are negotiated between the city and the property owner, or this case, its agent Weaver Realty Group of Jacksonville.

Assistant City Manager Roger Yarborough said PUD zoning is being sought because the outside storage areas that Tractor Supply Co. has planned for the site are not permitted in districts zoned Commercial General.

The company will not occupy all of the vacant space left when Food Lion closed its doors seven months ago after announcing the move in mid-January. The new store would use 25,118 square feet, or about 62 percent of the available space, the company’s plans show.

The plans, from Oxford Architecture in Nashville, TN, also call for a number of display areas to showcase Tractor Supply Co. products.

An outdoor area measuring about 15,000 square feet and cordoned off with a 2.5-foot masonry wall and ornamental fencing is proposed in the parking lot close to the highway alongside a smaller, 3000-square-foot display area for trailers and equipment.

In addition, some 623 square feet on the sidewalk in front of the store will be set aside for displays.

The detached display areas are expected to reduce parking by 40-50 spaces.

Deliveries would be made to the rear of the store from Willis Hodges Road.

The plans also show at pylon sign next to the 3000-square-foot display area.

Tractor Supply Co. is a publicly traded company founded in 1938. Its website bills the company as “the largest retail farm and ranch store chain in the United States” with 1130 stores in 45 states and headquartered in Brentwood, TN

Other area locations include Orange Park,  Jacksonville, Starke and Lake City.

With Food Lion’s exit early this year, part of a wave of closures across the state and the Southeast, the shopping center lost its anchor store and other tenants lost the associated foot traffic that came with it.

A manager at the nearby Goody’s estimated the department store experienced a 10 percent drop in sales after the vacancy. But a handful of others businesses like the Dollar Tree and Subway reported no change from the move.

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