Tuesday, March 06, 2012

So It Begins

Construction of the new Publix has finally started at Water Tower Place on the edge of Celebration. Right now it's more like DEstruction, since they're knocking down plenty of buildings to whip the world's most poorly designed shopping center into a layout that actually makes sense.

The new Publix won't really be all that much closer than the current one, which sits at 192 and International Drive. The difference is perhaps a quarter of a mile, but it still feels like Paradise to have a store in town (well, kind of...Water Tower is still technically Celebration, even if it's as much on the outskirts as you can possibly get).

The big difference between the two locations is that we'll no longer have to cross 192. Getting to the current Publix means two stop lights and, at busy times of year, a heck of a lot of tourist traffic that makes that quarter mile feel much, much longer.

You can't take a NEV to the current Publix because the 192 speed limit is too high. Even if it weren't such a move would be blatantly suicidal. Let's see: small, plastic, electric-powered vehicle vs. lost tourist in metal minivan making an abrupt three-lane change at 50 mph. No question who'd come out on the losing end of that road war. When the new Publix is done, NEVs can take Celebration Ave. to the grocery store with decidedly better odds, although the Ave. gets scary at times, too.

If I ever feel ambitious, I'll be able to bike to the new Publix. That reminds me of the early days of my marriage, when I lived in a townhome literally within spitting distance of Da Jewels, which is the Chicago equivalent of Publix. A gallon of milk, some fresh veggies, or burgers for the grill were less than a five minute stroll away. While the new store won't be quite that convenient, it'll be as close as someone living in East Village will ever come, unless they someday plop a Winn-Dixie on the soccer field.

While the grocery store is the main excitement in town, we're getting another sign of civilization, too: our very own Panera Bread. Like the Publix, it'll be on the outskirts of town, near the office buildings on Celebration Place. That's fine with me, as that'll give it a much better chance of survival than it would ever have if it were downtown.

Granted, we do have a lot of restaurants that have made it downtown for years, but I've seen plenty come and go over the years. The only big chain place in downtown Celebration is Starbucks, and that brand has an uncanny ability to attract huge mobs of followers no matter where you put it. I swear, you could build a Starbucks on the moon, and the next morning there would be a line around the store. Not only do we have our downtown Starbucks, but also one just across from Water Tower Place. I visit both about equally, and they're always equally busy.

Still, I think it will help the Panera to be able to draw from Celebration residents, people who work in the office buildings, and those passing by on 192 who succumb to its siren song. There's a decent chunk of land where it's going in, so maybe it's the harbinger of other restaurants and stores to come.

Starbucks, Publix, Panera, and who knows what else...our sleepy little town has finally hit the big time.

Here's a list of my current ebooks, including a Kindle and Nook version of the early years of this blog:

  • 10 Money-Saving Tips for Your Disney World Vacation: Kindle or Nook
  • 10 Disney Cruise Line Tips for Adults: Kindle or Nook
  • Mickey Mouse is My Neighbor (life in Celebration, FL): Kindle or Nook
  • Complete eBook Guide to SeaWorld Orlando: Kindle or Nook
  • 15 Tips for Saving Money on Disney Cruise Line: Kindle or Nook
  • 25 Tips for Visiting Disney World With Babies, Toddlers & Young Kids: Kindle or Nook
  • eBook Guide to Legoland Florida: Kindle and Nook
  • Legoland Florida for Adults: Kindle and Nook