Overhauled Naples Plaza with rebuilt Publix fills up again with tenants

William DeShazer/Staff 
 A shopper makes her way back to her car at Naples Plaza on Friday Dec. 14, 2012.

Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

William DeShazer/Staff A shopper makes her way back to her car at Naples Plaza on Friday Dec. 14, 2012.

— Naples Plaza is playing with a full deck after months of renovations, with property owners touting 100 percent occupancy at the overhauled shopping center.

New additions to the plaza, which is anchored by a Publix supermarket that was rebuilt during the changes, include a Publix Liquor Store, West Marine and an expansion of the AT&T shop.

The Woodhouse Spa, Zoom Tan tanning salon, and jewelry store Bombay Bangles will join the tenants that remained at the plaza that sits just west of the intersection of Golden Gate Parkway and U.S. 41 North, across from Coastland Center mall.

"The redevelopment of the center is the culmination of a two-year-long partnership with the city of Naples," said Carol Merriman, spokeswoman for Brixmor Property Group, which owns Naples Plaza. "The landmark 50-year-old center has now been re-energized and includes upgrades to lighting, landscaping, faade and signage."

Publix reopened in early December, after what some tenants called a rough summer of dusty debris, a torn-up parking lot, and other changes up and down the strip of stores.

"It was a tough summer of construction keeping people away," said Jason Gibson, who owns a Rita's Water Ice storefront in Naples Plaza.

Regarding customer traffic to his shop, he added: "We're not noticing a difference with Publix open."

Where a chain bookstore was once an anchor tenant, boating supply store West Marine is up and running, not far from the new day spa, which is scheduled to open in the spring.

West Marine announced this fall that it was closing its two East Naples stores, at 2025 Davis Blvd. and in the Courthouse Shadows shopping center at 3360 U.S. 41 East, to open the new store with nearly 14,000 square feet in the former Books-A-Million in Naples Plaza.

The mix in Naples Plaza doesn't work everywhere, according to Naples-area property appraiser Raymond Carroll.

"It's not very common, but everybody will be looking at where the best location is for their clientele. That west of (U.S.) 41 affluent community is attractive to many tenants, so there will be a more eclectic mix there than other locations farther in," Carroll said.

For its 50th birthday this year, the plaza's parking lot was redone, with new lighting and another entrance added between Mooring Line Drive and Golden Gate Parkway.

The demolition and reconstruction of the 56,000-square-foot Publix began in the spring; the supermarket now features natural and organic products, a soup bar, salad bar, cheese shop, and a Pacific wok offering Pan-Asian favorites.

The 6,000-square-foot Woodhouse Spa — one of a 30-store chain around the country that is starting its expansion into Florida with this location — is still drywall and exposed beams, but the cosmetic improvements on the other storefronts are largely done.

"Final touches are being made to the renovations, which are anticipated to be worked on in January," Merriman said.

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