One of the things I enjoy most about my job is getting to speak to different groups. Big groups or small, business people or social groups, it really does not matter. I love talking about our community and the role of the CEP. Regardless of the size of the group, the nature of the questions is often the same – “What is the new building going up . . .” and “When will get a  . . .” Usually, I know the answer or at least can proffer an educated guess. In this issue, I would like to highlight some of the most frequently asked new building questions.

What are those building going up near FedEx?

If you have not taken a moment and driven down NW 35th Ave into the Ocala-Marion County Commerce Park, I would encourage you to do so. Just past the new FedEx Ground Hub one can see two large buildings under construction. The building to the east is the new AutoZone Distribution Center. This facility is covers more than 440,000 sq. ft. and will serve AutoZone stores in Florida and Puerto Rico. The facility to the north or just past FedEx is the new Chewy.com Fulfillment Center. This building will encompass 620,000 sq. ft. Combined both facilities represent nearly 1.1 MILLION sq. ft. of new space. Eventually these three companies will employ approximately 1,500 workers.

What is being built on the Boulevard next to CenterState Bank (formerly Gateway Bank)

Why another bank of course! This is one of four new Chase Banks being built in Marion County. In addition to this location, branches are currently being constructed on Maricamp in front of Park View Commons, at Grand Oaks Town Center on SW 42nd Street, and on Hwy 200 at Canopy Oaks Shopping Center. Ocala represents a new market to Chase. The goal is for all four branches to be open by the end of the year.

Are the rumors true we are a getting a Wawa?

No. We are actually getting 6 Wawas! Several of the locations have been announced and work is beginning on two of them. The first two with activity can be found at SW 10th Street (the infamous “S-Curve”) and Pine Ave and on W. Silver Springs Blvd near SW 33rd Ave. Other announced locations include on Maricamp (across from the new Chase Bank) and on E. Silver Springs Blvd and SE 36th Ave. Wawa fans are known for being fanatics about their Wawa so Ocala has much to look forward to with these new stores.

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