CLERMONT, FL-Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, couldn’t make it here two years ago. Now a Wal-Mart competitor, Minneapolis-based Target Co., is trying to win city approval for a 187,000 SuperTarget outlet in a community of 8,600 residents that is torn between wanting more retail and less vehicular traffic.

Target’s entry into this mushrooming Lake County market could be decided by year end. That’s when the Clermont city council may vote on a request by Orlando-based Solo Development Corp. to alter the current Big-Box Ordinance that bars the construction of new stores over 100,000 sf. Solo wants to develop the store for Target at a planned 203,000-sf shopping center on 40 acres at Hancock Road and State Road 50.

That’s another busy intersection but not as busy as US 27 and State Road 50 where Wal-Mart wanted to put up a 287,000-sf SuperStore two years ago at an estimated hard construction cost of $17 million. Target’s 187,000-sf store would be built at an estimated cost of $12 million. Residents convinced city council the Wal-Mart location was fraught with traffic problems. The council denied a building permit to the Bentonville, AR-based retailer.

Target operates 900 stores in 44 states. The average Target store is 90,000 sf; Greatland Targets are 135,000 sf; and SuperTargets average 177,00 sf.

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