Dollar Tree’s plan would sprout tallest building in county

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Dollar Tree’s Ocala distribution center wants to raise its roof to the tune of 145 feet, which would make it the tallest building in Marion County.

The discount retail chain submitted an application for a special use permit to the county on April 14 requesting approval for a 145-foot distribution tower to accommodate its automated storage rack system at its facility in the Florida Crossroads Commerce Park, 5410 SW Hwy 484, in Marion Oaks.

The current zoning designation allows for a maximum building height of 75 feet.

The request went before the county’s planning and zoning commission on April 26, where it was unanimously approved on the consent agenda. The Marion County Board of County Commissioners has the final say and will weigh the request on May 18.

Dollar Tree’s 1.7 million-square-foot distribution center is set to be erected in two phases: a 500,000-square-foot building, followed by a 1.2 million-square-foot building.

The smaller portion opened and began shipping products in August, while the second phase is still pending site plan approvals.

Dollar Tree submitted a major site plan in December, but the Office of the County Engineers sent it back with comments that needed attention, according to Alex AuBuchon, a county spokesman.

“My understanding is that the developers are waiting for the results of the special use permit request before resubmitting that major site plan, as those plans may change depending on the maximum allowed height of the building,” AuBuchon said in an email.

Dollar Tree’s Ocala warehouse is the company’s 26th distribution center in the U.S.

The company nearly balked on building in Ocala, but the Marion County Board of County Commissioners offered the company a $9.9 million incentive package to secure the massive distribution center.

Once complete, the facility is expected to create 700 jobs for the Ocala area.

“Unfortunately, we are not able to comment at this time,” said Kevin Sheilley, CEO of Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership. “However, we are excited as the company continues to go through the process and look forward to hopefully finalizing the next phase in the near future.”

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