Sunday, April 4, 2021

Former Albertsons #4474 - Loxahatchee, FL

Photo courtesy of a real estate listing from a long time ago.

Albertsons #4474
12031 Southern Boulevard, Loxahatchee, FL

     Happy Easter everyone! Today's post is rather short compared to most others, mostly because of what this former Albertsons store was converted into after it closed, leaving me little wiggle room to go overboard on pictures like I normally tend to do. Because of that, today's post is a compilation of old photos from the internet I saved a long time ago, Google Streetview images, satellite images, and a handful of photos I took while in the area. Former Albertsons #4474 needed some kind of documentation, so this is what I was able to put together for this rather short-lived store in the outskirts of urbanized Palm Beach County:

Photo courtesy of a real estate listing from a long time ago.

     Albertsons opened its Loxahatchee store in early 2001, during a time when development in western Palm Beach County was booming (and even to this day, that development boom continues as there is still lots of land primed for development out this way). Numerous chain stores were flooding the Loxahatchee/Royal Palm Beach area in the early 2000's, with Southern Boulevard, the main road through the area, becoming the area's retail hub. The Loxahatchee Albertsons opened as the anchor to a new retail development called "Village Center Shops", which included the Albertsons and some outparcels upon which a 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Wendy's, and a small strip of storefronts were built. Even though Albertsons would only last 9 years in this location, this store must have done some moderately good business, as it lasted until Albertsons completely pulled out of Palm Beach County in 2010.

     In 2011, shortly after Albertsons closed, permits were filed to begin the process of converting the former 61,000 square foot grocery store building into a charter school. Palms West Charter School, as it would later be called, finished remodeling this building in time for the 2013-2014 school year. While the charter school's remodel left most of Albertsons' original old-Florida style exterior completely in-tact, the interior was gutted and rebuilt to look just like any average school.

Photo courtesy of Google Streetview

     Since the building is now a K-8 charter school, it's surrounded by a bunch of fences and extremely difficult to photograph, which is why I've had to pull some images from Google Streetview to supplement the few crummy images I managed to take while circling the parking lot. While taking pictures of supermarkets, abandoned buildings, and related places doesn't bother me, taking pictures of schools isn't something I'm particularly fond of. I feel if someone catches me taking pictures of a school, it will lead to many more questions than if someone sees me taking pictures in a grocery store. What's even worse, actually, is I had an encounter with a grouchy Winn-Dixie manager about taking pictures immediately before visiting this former Albertsons, which really didn't help my mood any!

Photo courtesy of Google Streetview

     Another thing that didn't help with taking pictures of this building was that most of the parking lot was converted into a playground and basketball court, right in front of the main part of the building too. Only a small portion of Albertsons' parking lot was preserved over by the old liquor store, now used for staff parking.

     Somewhere behind that fence and those trees are remnants of a Grocery Palace-era Albertsons store. I timed my trip out this way to happen on a Sunday morning, hoping the school would be quiet as it was a weekend. I was actually proven wrong, as there was a school bus parked out front and a bunch of people in the playground/basketball court area in front of the building.

     It's been a pretty common thing to see schools (especially these K-8 charter schools) opening in abandoned retail buildings throughout Florida. I've seen everything from old supermarkets to old Kmarts and Targets get converted into schools, sometimes in the middle of a busy shopping center too (which is a rather odd sight - the conversions of stand-alone buildings like this one seem a little more natural).

     Here's one last look toward Albertsons' former main entryway, which is now a side entrance into the school and the main access from the building to the playground and drop-off area. All the detailing on the front of the building is original to Albertsons, and so is the paint scheme - all the school did was repaint the metal roof from blue to beige after the conversion.

Photo courtesy of Google Streetview

     At the right side of the building is the former liquor store, which was turned into the school's front office and guest entrance, as this door opens into the parking lot.

     Here's my photo of the old liquor store, a little glared from being taking through the car window.

Photo courtesy of Google Streetview

     Lastly, before moving on to the aerial images, here's my attempt at getting a view of the entire front of the building on Google Streetview. With the ground coverage out of the way, let's move on to some Bird's Eye aerial images, courtesy of Bing Maps:


Right Side


Left Side - Due to the layout of the lot, Albertsons' receiving bays were on this side of the building, where the back corner sticks out. The school closed in the bay doors and turned the area into more green space.

     And now for some historic satellite images, courtesy of Google Earth:

Former Albertsons #4474 - 2019 - Here you can see how most of the parking lot was turned into a playground.

Former Albertsons #4474 - 2011 - The abandoned building before its transition into a school began.

Albertsons #4474 - 2009

Albertsons #4474 - 2005


Future Albertsons #4474 - 1999

     With the historic aerials finished, that's about all there is to say for former Albertsons #4474 in Loxahatchee. Even though today's post was shorter than normal, I'm back to my usual length tour next time, where we'll visit a bonus store elsewhere in Palm Beach County. Be sure to come back in two weeks for that!

So until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger


  1. That's interesting that a lot of old retail has become schools in Florida. I would say the same is more or less true in Houston, but perhaps not to the extent that you're describing with Florida. There are some charter schools in old supermarkets around here. Perhaps the best example of that is the Gulfton area ex-Kroger. Kroger actually tried turning that into a Hispanic-oriented format called Kroger Super Mercado, but that didn't work out and the building was turned into a charter school. Here's a photo of the store when it was the Kroger Super Mercado:,_Houston#/media/File:KrogerGulfton1.JPG

    Houston Community College has converted some ex-retail space. The most famous of these would be a Builders Square-turned-college and the Incredible University. Well, Incredible Community College at least, lol.

    Perhaps the oddest conversion is the conversion of an old Food Lion into a regular public elementary school. Link:

    As you can clearly see there, the Food Lion origins of the building are quite evident, but they've also modified the building somewhat. I think it would be neat to go to school in an old supermarket, but I can't say I ever had that opportunity! Oddly enough, I think the nickname for that elementary school is the Sea Lions! I wonder if that was an intentional thing done due to the building formerly being a Food Lion. I'm not sure what would be a good nickname for a school in an old Albertsons though. The Fighting Albertsons sounds good, but we're probably the only ones who would think so. Hey, it's better than the Fighting Piggly Wigglies though, right? Lol.

    I do like what the school in the old Albertsons has done with the parking lot. That basketball court with all the green space is pretty neat. I wonder if there are any Albertsons elements in the building itself, but my best guess is probably not. If there is anything, it's probably pretty minimal. Then again, who really knows!

    That run-in with the Winn-Dixie manager sounds unfortunate. That's not quite DeLand bad with that beer bottle thrown at you, but it sounds pretty bad. Maybe you ought to put together a list of bad experiences together for one of your anniversary posts! It's probably best to balance that out with good experiences though. But, yeah, I don't blame you for not wanting to look too suspicious around a school. The public doesn't take kindly to such things and it's not worth it. Well, it wouldn't be worth it for a Winn-Dixie or a Publix, but maybe Albertsons is a little higher on the priority list! Well, just a little bit I suppose, lol!

    1. I’ve seen old retail buildings get turned into many different kinds of schools, although charter schools and chain universities (like the new-defunct Virginia College) seem to be the most common. I do know of a handful of retail buildings turned into public schools, but those are much rarer (at least in Florida). The most interesting retail-to-school conversion I’ve ever seen though was when Full Sail University in Winter Park took over two entire shopping centers to turn into their main campus, which is both odd and interesting at the same time. I did a post on that conversion a while back, as one of the centers Full Sail swallowed up used to house an Albertsons:

      The Food Lion to public elementary school you linked too is odd as well. It’s strange they left the old Food Lion almost entirely in-tact, then put an addition on it to fit in all the extra space the school needed. Going to school in an old supermarket or retail store may have made going to school slightly more interesting, but I doubt there would have been too many relics to see inside. We never had any supermarket schools near me growing up, at least at the grade school level. We did have a few chain colleges pop up around town at the time, to the point that my mother now refers to them as “Winn-Dixie Universities” (as we had one open in a closed Winn-Dixie, which my mother always thought was odd). Winn-Dixie University isn’t as slick of a wordplay as Incredible University though! :)

      My lady friend who had a beef with me at the nearby Winn-Dixie was a bit grouchy, and I’m still trying to figure out how she even realized I was taking pictures, as she appeared out of nowhere (I hadn’t seen her at all until she confronted me). I have a few theories though (either a crabby customer ratted me out, or she was watching me on video), but more on that incident when I eventually upload that photoset (which I amazingly still managed to complete after being scolded, although I raced through the rest of the store following that incident, so pictures in the last three-quarters of the store are a bit lighter than normal). The DeLand incident was weird, but had no direct correlation to me taking pictures at least. Those idiots in the back of the truck would have thrown that beer bottle at whoever happened to be on the sidewalk – retail photographer or not! I think I’ve shared most of my retail photography run-ins before (both good and bad), but it would be fun to compile them all together someday. I had a really good dry spell of not being bothered when out taking pictures, which all went out the window (with all other good things, I suppose) in 2020 (when I had 4 run-ins total – 3 bad, and one that was really, really weird that I’m going to share later this year in an AFB post).

  2. Wow! This was a particularly nice Grocery Palace era Albertsons. That old Florida architecture with the Blue metal roof sure looked nice. Also, that aerial from 2009 made this store look very busy. It's such a shame to a nice building like this one not live on as another store.

    It's too bad you had to encounter that grouchy manager. They were probably on the defensive worried about the appearance of their store and didn't like the excessive photo taking haha!

    I have a feeling the bonus buy store in two weeks will be that said Winn Dixie, and speaking of them didn't they have 3 so-called Kosher stores down in either Broward or Palm Beach County? It seems as though I remember that they all closed in that 2nd bankruptcy in 2018.

    1. It seems that the manager of that Winn-Dixie had a beef with AFB. That makes sense though since they are The Beef People.

      Sorry, sorry, I had to add that. I was kicking myself for thinking of that joke right after I posted my reply! I must have been patting myself on the back too much for that Incredible University line, lol.

    2. It looks like this was a really nice Albertsons back when it was open, and the exterior design was very nice (and quite unique too – I can’t think of any other Albertsons that looked like this one). I don’t know what got me on the wrong side of that Winn-Dixie manager. If she was on the defensive about appearance (or to a similar effect, thinking I was a spy from Publix), and I felt like being snarky, I should have given my reply to “Why are you taking pictures?” as “Bleed green!” and walked away! :)

      The bonus store in two weeks won’t be that Winn-Dixie, unfortunately – the next store is in a different part of Palm Beach County, and related to the folks who “bleed green”. W-D does have two expanded Kosher prototype stores in South Florida (Boca Raton and Aventura), both of which are busy stores and have really nice Down Down remodels, so they’re not going anywhere anytime soon! There are a few other expanded Kosher Winn-Dixies out there too (like the Ormond Beach store), but I believe Boca and Aventura have Kosher service departments, which is what sets those two stores apart from the rest.

    3. That Boca store has a very nice exterior. In same ways it reminds me of a Superstore Albertsons with the dual entrances, only the not go all the way across the front at an Albertsons.
      That Kosher Pizza bar sounds very delicious though!

  3. Happy Easter! You're right, it is pretty interesting just how many old supermarkets and other big box retail buildings are turned into schools. The most common examples seem to be places like Virginia College (even though they no longer exist), which had opened up in several former Albertsons buildings, and other higher education places like community colleges, too. The University of Memphis took over a space in a former Kmart that was previously occupied by one of those "chain" colleges prior to their bankruptcy, and Northwest Community College is making good progress on converting the former Factory Stores at Batesville, even though the last holdout, It's Fashion Metro, refuses to leave! Besides those secondary schools, the most common primary schools that open up in old retail buildings seem to be private or charter schools, like the example seen here. It's probably rarest for a true public K-12 school to occupy a retail building, but I've even seen that happen before, albeit usually only temporarily. The one that comes to mind is one of the old Schnucks buildings in Memphis that became a school during some sort of emergency, but there's also that Macy's-turned-high school in the northeast that's only just now made the news.

    1. Happy (belated) Easter to you as well! I guess with all the empty retail buildings out there, these chain college and charter school companies find it cheaper to reuse these building than trying to build something from scratch. As I mentioned in my reply to Anonymous from Houston, the campus of Full sail University (which is a pretty big college in Winter Park) is made of up of two former shopping centers! What Full Sail did is rather similar to what Northwest Community College is doing in Batesville at the moment, although Full Sail bought their shopping centers and kicked everyone out in order to take over the buildings, whereas the Batesville Outlet Center died on its own. Lee County Public Schools (the county home to Fort Myers) took over two Kmart stores out that way following Kmart’s bankruptcy closings in the early 2000’s, converting both into elementary schools. Those are the only retail to public school conversions coming to me right now in Florida, but there’s probably a handful of others floating around. However, retail to public school conversions definitely seem to be the rarest case.

    2. Since you mentioned Kmart -- that reminded me of one of the three American Fare buildings, the Stone Mountain, GA, one, which was turned into a giant complex for the DeKalb County School District! I don't think there's a true "regular" school in there, but it does look like it has a couple of specialized schools mixed in with the county offices and transportation department (Alternative School, etc.). And speaking of full shopping centers turned into campuses, how could I forget to mention the Jackson Avenue Center?! You'd think it's as if I haven't gone to that building all the time over the last five years, lol XD In fairness, I suppose I can't claim they operate the *entirety* of the old mall, but Ole Miss does *own* the whole thing, at least. Nothing's been done with the JCPenney yet, but I'm positive plans are being made. And it's getting to the point where I'm even beginning to suspect they might take over the Malco portion, also. That would require a lot more extensive work, of course, but it appears as if the Malco has never reopened since the pandemic...

    3. Speaking of Georgia, The Warner Robins Publix on Russell Parkway turned into a police academy of all things. Also in Merrit Square Mall, the “blue” Publix period you mentioned must be from the private school that was once there. Again also in Xentury City Center. That Publix (Kissimmee) is turning into a sheriff’s office. Also, I see on the Publix website that Westgate in Gainesville is closing May 1st.

    4. Unknown:

      Publix #125, Westgate Shopping Center, 125 Southwest 34th Street, Gainesville, Florida 32607-2850, is closing for a rebuild. The new store will include Publix Pharmacy and possibly Publix Liquors.

  4. There are two charter schools going into old supermarkets here in Tampa. Idea Public Schools, a public school based in Texas, are putting two schools here. One will be in the old Pak N Save/Tampa Flea Market building, while the second will be in the old SweetbaySupermarket/Cook's Department Store in Columbus Plaza. In Bloomingdale, another Sweetbay became another charter school. At least it isn't abandoned...

    1. True - at least it's something to give these buildings a new life. I know the old Bloomingdale Sweetbay was sitting empty a really long time, and looking a bit weathered from sitting vacant for so long. The long vacant Super Target in Odessa was converted into a college recently too, so it seems like Tampa Bay is getting a lot of retail to school conversions of late.