The Manhattan Project stayed secret for years but that was only the construction of the first atomic bomb in history.
The future of the Village Plaza strip mall on Sun City Boulevard might be as closely held a secret — for now at least.
Business owners were told last month they had to move out by March 14. Speculation swirled that an Aldi’s discount supermarket or Hess gas station would rise in their place.
Then the broker for the property put the kibosh on the rumor mill, saying he could not reveal what was coming but it would not be a Wawa, an Aldi or a gas station.
Since then, all inquiries from The Observer News have gone unanswered.
Even residents of the plaza know nothing.
“We have not heard anything [about what business will take over the plaza],” said Gordon Dimmock, owner of Ray’s Golf Carts Sales and Service, one of the main stores in the plaza at U.S. 301 and S.R. 674. Ray’s plans on moving back to its original location behind Burger King on SCC Boulevard.
The landlord for Village Plaza, Frank Diehl Farms of Wimauma, has declined to comment on the property or its future.
Judy Roger, owner of The Clip and Strut Shop, has worked from the Village Plaza for 26 years. She is going to move to All About Paws, a full-service pet center in Riverview, about four miles north of the plaza.
“If it has to be, it has to be. I am 64, so in a way I thought this is God’s way of telling me to slow down because I have been by myself there for a long time doing everything,” she said.