While cultish fans cannot wait for Trader Joe’s to open its first store in South Florida, the supermarket chain‘s contractor hasn’t been able to start renovations in Pinecrest.
Trader Joe’s is known for its specialty and organic foods at prices below those of other specialty grocers. The closest store to South Florida is in Naples.
To open a Pinecrest store at 9205 S. Dixie Highway, Trader Joe’s out-of-state engineers are trying to meet Miami-Dade County’s strict building code. After Hurricane Andrew, the county adopted some of the strictest construction regulations in the country. For example, structural plans submitted in Miami-Dade County are reviewed for wind-resistance by a government engineer, who commonly asks for changes.
“What we have in the county is very unusual, people are not used to getting their plans reviewed like we do here,” said Eugenio Santiago, a Key Biscayne chief building official and consultant in Pinecrest. “They are not used to anybody questioning things like we do.”
Trader Joe’s executives leased the new location last year. Village officials had issues with the building, electrical, mechanical and structural permits. After getting feedback from the village earlier this month, the supermarket’s contractors are expected to resubmit their permit applications. All of this is normal in Miami-Dade.
“It is part of the process,” the village’s planning director, Steve Olmsted, said. “We asked for some changes to the façade in terms of the design of the building and additional landscaping.”
The extensive renovations to the 13,800-square-foot store include removing end portions of the building both at the north and south ends, adding natural stone in place of brick along the front and sides of the building, replacing the ground floor slab and downsizing the building store front.
Jeannette Golindano who started the Facebook page “Bring Trader Joe’s to Miami Florida” was hoping the construction had already began. She recently posted several pictures online of the empty Pinecrest locale, which is near the Dadeland South Metrorail station.
“I can hardly wait for it to open,” Golindano said. “I will be driving by again this weekend to see if there is any progress.”