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By Jim Shilander

Plans for the redesign and refurbishment of the Estrella Plaza shopping center are still in the planning process, but the first phase of the proposed project, the redevelopment of the former Kmart into three separate stores, has advanced, city associate planner Sean Nicholas said Wednesday. The developer has also submitted an application to be a part of the city’s master sign program.

The project’s first phase, which would split the Kmart into three separate stores, Sports Authority, Stein Mart and Sprouts, is currently going through a second round of comments from the city, Nicholas said. The Planning Commission approved architectural and site plan permits for the redevelopment of the store last October, giving the planning department a wide berth to discuss changes to the proposal with the applicant in the hopes of jumpstarting the project.

Nicholas said building permits for the second phase of the project, which includes the redevelopment of Big Lots into a T.J. Maxx and provide a new look for the remaining stores in the plaza (with the exception of Citibank), will likely be submitted for comment later this month or in March. The developers of both projects have targeted a late-summer opening for the new stores.

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