By Anthony Clark | The Gainesville Sun
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft will open a 36,000-square-foot store next year in the long-vacant former Publix location in the Esplanade at Butler Plaza.
The company wants to open before the end of the second quarter of 2014, preferably in the first quarter, but has “fairly considerable” construction to do, said Seth Lane of Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group, which handles leasing for the Esplanade.
A Jo-Ann spokeswoman did not return a call for comment Friday.
Jo-Ann closed its 12,000-square-foot store in the Millhopper Shopping Center in January 2010 to make way for a larger Publix. Prior to that, several sources said the company was looking for a larger space for a superstore and would close its two smaller Gainesville stores, including the one that remains open at 1220 NW 76th Blvd.
Lane confirmed that Jo-Ann still plans to close the 76th Boulevard location.
The coming store is one of many changes to the oldest part of Butler Plaza at 3610 Archer Road.
4 Rivers Smokehouse opened Thursday in the former McAlister’s Deli, which moved last year to the former Ashley’s Pub.
Guitar Center will open its 8,000-square-foot musical instrument store on Thursday.
Cox Communications has signed a lease to put in a Cox Solutions Store in a few months where customers can sign up for service, pay bills, exchange equipment and see features such as high-definition service.
Jo-Ann offers products for quilting, apparel, craft and home decor sewing, as well as components, tools and kits for crafters. The Hudson, Ohio-based company operates 790 stores in 49 states.
The arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby also plans to open a Gainesville store next year, in place of the just-closed Stein Mart.