A Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store could soon be on its way to Oakland Park Boulevard, as well as residential and green space.
The first reading of the ordinance proposal for the former Kmart lot at Oakland Park Boulevard and Sixth Avenue was approved unanimously by the commission present. Commissioner Sara Guevrekian was not there to vote.
“I am really, really pleased and very excited not only about the project but also that it incorporates the possibilities of the future, the entire Middle River being a public space, it’s great,” Oakland Park Vice Mayor Jane Bolin said during the meeting.
The Kmart closed in 2014 and the lot was purchased by Walmart. However, that plan was dropped when the company butted heads with the city. Ram Realty Services applied to purchase the 10 gross-acre property as mixed-use land, which was unanimously approved by the city’s Planning and Zoning Board in July.
The company presented its plans to the commission Aug. 5 to include a Sprouts grocery store, retail space, apartments, multi-family townhomes, a BBQ area for residents, dog park, walking path with tree canopy, a boardwalk along the Middle River mangroves, shared-ride service loading area, and a dine-in restaurant.
Oakland Park Mayor Matthew Sparks told the Wilton Manors Gazette he was pleased with the updated plans, which included recommendations by the commission such as not having a drive-thru restaurant.
“I’m glad that it’s out of the hands of Walmart and now in the hands of Ram [Realty Services],” said Spark, who said he has never been a fan of Walmart. “They’re turning this from a basic big box store with a parking lot to a lot of greenery.”
As for traffic, Robert Lochrie of Lochrie & Chakas noted during the meeting that there would be a reduction of 1,000 trips per day compared to a Walmart being on the site.
“We’re not only putting less traffic on the roadways, we’re improving the function of the roadways,” he said during the meeting.
Spouts is an Arizona-based grocery store that offers an array of natural, organic, and gluten-free foods. Sparks said that hopefully this will fill the void that was left in the community when Lucky’s Market closed in February. Aldi, another grocery store, will be moving into that vacant space.
“I already signed up for their shopping app,” Sparks said of Sprouts, which also has a new location in Deerfield Beach. “This is the best possible scenario that could have ever happened and now that they have conditional use, it’s basically a done deal. They can now purchase the property.”