Well, well, well.
We know what gets Citrus County’s attention now, don’t we?
First off, I’d like to welcome the nearly 400 Facebook followers Just Wright Citrus picked up since we broke the news Friday morning that the main tenant of a proposed big box store in Lecanto is Target.
I kind of figured the tip might garner some attention, but ye gads. Thousands of views, hundreds of comments and shares. The Target people should be happy – most of it was favorable.
(Here's the Friday Facebook post if you missed it.)
I’m going to talk some about Target in a minute but first I want to say a little bit about how I received this information:
Someone I trust told me.
That’s pretty much how this works. This is a trust business. You are putting your trust in me that I’m giving you fact and truth; if it’s rumor or unsubstantiated, I say that as well. It’s a trust I don’t take lightly.
Because of the trust you place in me, I also place trust in certain folks that if they tell me something I can take it to the bank. In this case, it was a few people and that led me to being able to say for certainty that Target is the big-box store tenant at “Beverly Hills Crossing,” even though Target isn’t mentioned by name anywhere in the developer's filings with the county.
I say all this to assure you this is not a rumor.
We’ve heard the Target rumors, particularly the deal that supposedly fell through years ago.
This is a county that lives on rumors of pending commercial possibilities. Chronicle business reporter Mike Bates does a yeoman’s job keeping up with it, but we speculate so much in rumor and gossip here it’s hard to get a grip on what’s really taking place.
I’m writing this Sunday night, so if I have the details wrong please don’t bark at me you old timers. But this is how I recall the Target lore.
It was 2008 and a developer planned a shopping center on the southwest corner of C.R. 491/486, where the Walmart is now. It had a big box tenant and the widespread rumor was Target.
Talk about a news blackout. No one would say boo about Target. Couldn’t find anything in writing on the county level that mentioned Target.
The mystery tenant eventually walked away. Depending on who you speak with, one of the following happened:
– Too expensive impact fees.
– County permitting nightmare.
– Corporate marketing decision unrelated to county regulations.
Eventually, as we see, Walmart was built and the outparcels are springing up as we speak.
But when “Target” first encountered Citrus County, the intersection was totally different. Look at it now: One vacant corner and “Beverly Hills Crossing” just grabbed it.
Something tells me this process will be much smoother for all involved than 2008.
Look. I know not everyone is thrilled with Target, particularly owners of small local businesses who cringed when they heard the news. As Citrus becomes more commercially urbanized, those local business owners want to make sure they’re not crowded out.
But with this additional piece, well, there’s your commercial introduction to the Central Ridge. Our community is changing so much and so quickly, it’s hard to keep up.
To many people, a Target store says we’ve arrived. To where? That’s the unanswered question.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.