More than 11 years after Publix Super Markets sold off downtown land one of its stores occupies at the corner of E. Colonial Drive and Shine Avenue, the Lakeland-based grocery giant paid a premium of $1.7 million last week to buy it back.
Publix paid $6.19 million on Dec. 22 to reacquire three parcels totaling 3.02 acres, 2.39 acres of which are occupied by one of the company's most recognized stores at 1500 E. Colonial Dr., in what's known as Colonialtown shopping center.
Wallace Enterprises out of Smyrna, Georgia, paid $4.48 million in March 2004 to buy the three parcels from Publix Super Markets. The owner signed a land lease at the time with Publix that ran through 2024, with potential extensions until 2049.
The remaining 0.63 acres encompass two small parcels directly south of the grocery store across Hillcrest Street, and are currently a satellite parking lot used by Publix staff and a vacant commercial lot.
A Publix spokesman did not respond to requests for comment Monday on what motivated the company's reacquisition of the property, and if those parcels across from the larger store parcel will continue to be used as parking, or will be developed further.
A spokeswoman for Wallace Enterprises told GrowthSpotter on Monday the company will look to reinvest the recent sale value in a 1031 exchange, but has yet to determine in what city, state or real estate segment it may focus that property search.
Publix has been in expansion mode this year, stating in its annual report last March it planned to use $1.3 billion in cash in 2015 to build new supermarkets, remodel existing supermarkets and to buy shopping centers where Publix is the anchor tenant.