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CLERMONT, FL-In a move that few in the public hearing room expected, Lowe’s Inc. and a landowner withdrew their application for the development of a 170,000-sf, $15-million store in Lake County’s hottest retail hub, just as elected officials prepared to vote on the project.

Lowe’s officials and their developer, Clermont Land Development LLC of Solon, OH couldn’t be reached by GlobeSt.com’s to learn if the Wilkesboro, NC home improvements retailer would resubmit its application at a later date. Sources familiar with Lowe’s 31-acre site, southeast of US 27 and State Road 50, tell GlobeSt.com Lowe’s is preparing to resubmit the application. Wal-Mart formerly owned the tract but sold it two years ago to the McGill Property Group, the parent of Clermont Land Development, according to GlobeSt.com research.

If Lowe’s does resubmit the application, however, sources close to the city’s planning department tell GlobeSt.com Lowe’s will have to overcome a major hurdle–Clermont bars big-box developments more than 100,000 sf. However, the same sources tell GlobeSt.com the city has waived its own two-year regulation in the past for Home Depot Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Inc.

Lowe’s decision to hold off on its new location comes as neighboring Orange County starts a one-year moratorium on the development of all big-boxes in its area, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. Another hurdle Lowe’s will have to face is opposition from several city planners who feel the 170,000-sf store is too large for a 31-acre tract, according to area retail brokers following the issue.

A Clermont retail broker tells GlobeSt.com Lowe’s “desperately wants to have a presence in Clermont to go up against its arch rival, Home Depot.” The broker is not part of the retailer’s development process but has monitored the intense retail growth in the south Lake County city over the past five years.

The two retailers have gone cash register to cash register in Central Florida over the past several years, often opening stores within a mile of each other’s properties, according to GlobeSt.com research. Clermont has long been considered the top bedroom community in the area because of its fast 25-mile commuting trip to Downtown Orlando.

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