3701 Hillsboro Boulevard, Deerfield Beach, FL - Deer Creek Plaza
We all know that the most popular reuse, by far, for the former Floridian Albertsons stores is being converted into a Publix. This is Florida after all, and having over 830 stores here, it was bound to happen that one or two or 60 of our former Albertsons stores would get swallowed up by the green giant. However, in case anyone was curious, the second most common reuse for a former Floridian Albertsons store is what we'll be seeing today: being converted into a Ross Dress for Less store. Of those 170 Albertsons stores that once called Florida home, 10 became home to a Ross Dress for Less, like former Albertsons #4358 here in Deerfield Beach. The reason we see so many former Albertsons stores end up as a Ross in the afterlife has to do with a deal made during the breakup of Albertsons in 2006. That year, Ross purchased 46 stores directly from Albertsons in 6 different states, including Florida. While I've never been able to pinpoint exactly how many Floridian stores Ross purchased as part of that deal, I was able to track down 4 that were for sure part of it, with a number of other conversions happening around that same time that may have been part of the deal, or just coincidental. Regardless, the Ross in this former Albertsons was not part of that deal, having opened a few years after that transaction occurred. However, after buying all those former Albertsons stores, it seems like Ross was keeping an eye on Albertsons' real estate, using Albertsons' losses for their own gain much like Publix was doing. Anyway, we'll touch more on this store's present life in a moment, but first, the background information:
|Photo courtesy of Google Street View|
Deerfield Beach is another one of the many suburbs of Fort Lauderdale, located in the northernmost portion of Broward County. The Palm Beach/Broward County line is all that separates Deerfield Beach from Boca Raton, which is located directly to our north. Unlike its ritzy northern neighbor, Deerfield Beach is your rather average South Florida suburb these days, consisting of various residential subdivisions bisected by the major arterials upon which the local retail lies. Albertsons managed to pick a very nice location for their new store in Deerfield Beach, locating at the northwestern corner of Hillsboro Boulevard and Powerline Road. This intersection would also end up becoming home to two of Deerfield Beach's major shopping centers as well, including the Deerfield Mall (anchored by Publix, Zayre, Marshalls, Walgreens, and General Cinemas, and which despite its name, was never an enclosed mall) on the southwestern corner, and the Kmart and J. Byron's-anchored Shoppes of Deer Creek on the northeastern corner (an open-air mall that's since demolished for a Super Target). Interestingly, Albertsons' presence at this intersection came at the demise of others. The property upon which Albertsons would build their Deerfield Beach store was originally owned by Grand Union, who had intended to build a store there. However, with Grand Union's financial troubles in the early 1980's and the company's eventual exit from Florida in 1985, Grand Union's new store never materialized, and the land was sold to Albertsons.
|Photo courtesy of Google Street View|
Albertsons' new store opened sometime toward the end of June 1984 based off my research in the local newspaper archives, with a pre-opening hiring ad published on June 18, 1984, and post-opening sales flyer published on July 1, 1984 mentioning the new Deerfield Beach store. Albertsons #4358 was the last of (what I've dubbed) the "trapezoid" model Albertsons stores to open in Florida, a short-lived early 1980's building variant that took the old 1970's Skaggs-Albertsons interior layout and added a reconfigured entryway to the front. That redesigned entryway gave the building a trapezoid-shaped vestibule when viewed from above, hence the name. From looking at county records it appears this store received a remodel of some kind in 1995, which was probably a remodel from the store's original decor to Blue and Gray Market. While the only pictures of this store I could find online were blurry Google Streetview images from 2007, the building appears to have a mostly original exterior, which would line up with a mid-1990's Blue and Gray Market remodel. Albertsons #4358 lasted until August 30, 2008, closing as part of a wave of 4 Floridian store closures announced by Albertsons only a month after the company entered a transaction to sell of 49 of its Floridian stores to Publix. 2008 was a bit of a bloodbath year for Albertsons Florida, and the events of that year certainly didn't send any signs of a rosy future for the company in Florida.
With its prime location on one of the busiest corners for retail in town, the former Deerfield Beach Albertsons didn't sit empty for long. By 2009, the building had been subdivided for its two new tenants - Ross Dress for Less and Michael's. As you can see, Ross is still going strong at this location, although its neighbor Michael's closed sometime in late 2019 or early 2020, its former space sitting empty during my visit here.
While the remodel and subdivision of the building kept the general shape and design of the exterior, the building was still heavily altered and reconfigured, with the interior totally gutted and rebuilt for the new tenants. In the photo above, we would have been looking toward the left side doors into the former Albertsons store. Ross reconfigured the building to have the entrance facing the front of the building, with Albertsons' old angled entryway converted into windows.
When Albertsons was here, we would have been looking across a wall of windows that would have illuminated the store's front end. When the building was remodeled, all the windows were ripped out and walled over, except for right around the entrances into the two new tenant's spaces.
Stepping inside, this store looks like every other Ross store in the chain. When it comes to consistency, Ross is very good at that, as pretty much every single one of their stores looks identical to each other in floorplan. Above, we're looking down the right side of the Ross store, the wall to my right being the partition that separates Ross from the old Michael's side of the building.
Here's a look across the back wall of Ross. Due to a quirk about this building which I'll explain in a little bit, I'm actually not sure how this store was laid out, if it was oriented with the service departments on the left side of the building or the right. Regardless though, the back wall (which we see in the photo above) would have been home to the meat coolers no matter how this building was oriented!
Here's an overview of Ross's sales floor, where the grocery aisles have been replaced with clothing racks.
Looking across the back aisle of Ross, while I don't see any Albertsons remnants, I do spot a very clever pun on a dog toy!
Housewares spill over onto the store's left side wall, with men's clothing beyond that in the building's front left corner. This area may have been home to Albertsons' service departments (produce, deli, and the bakery), but I'm not 100% sure on that.
It's not Blue and Gray Market, but at least Ross uses a lot of blue in their stores like Albertsons did.
Spend less, get more, because it's your store!
This store may not be a shoe-in for the best preserved former Albertsons out there, but it does clothes the gap between a cheap remodel and a complete tear-down of the building.
From the front left corner of the building, here's a look back into the sales floor, one store's grand aisle swapped out for a different kind.
Our final interior photo from Ross looks toward the stores check lanes, which occupy an island by the main entrance.
Back outside, we'll take a quick look at the former Michael's half of the building:
|Photo courtesy of the Broward County Property Appraiser|
Michael's opened alongside Ross in 2009, and remained here until sometime around late 2019 or early 2020. I don't know if the closure was COVID-related or the timing was just coincidental, but either way this half of the former Albertsons building is empty again. The photo above was taken while Michael's was still open, although besides the removal of the logo, the exterior doesn't look much different now than it did while the store was open.
Unlike Ross, Michael's kept their entrance on the angle like Albertsons did, replacing Albertsons' swinging doors with a single sliding one. Through those doors was a small vestibule built by Michael's, which then funneled shoppers into the main sales floor.
A sign announcing Michael's closure was still hanging in the window while I was here, one of the only things left showcasing the tenant that used to be here.
Like we saw inside Ross, the Michael's half of the building was also heavily remodeled, the interior stripped out to resemble most other Michael's stores with its open ceiling and red stripe along the walls.
As far as I'm aware, the former Michael's is still empty as of the original publication of this post in Summer 2023.
On the far right side of the building you'll see an emergency exit door leading out from Michael's side of the building. That door marks the approximate location of Albertsons old liquor store, which leads me to that quirk about the building I mentioned before...
The old liquor store was located on the front right corner of the building, now pretty well sealed over and hidden. Anyway, Albertsons placing a liquor store on the corner of the building like this probably wouldn't stand out too much first glance, as the front right or left corner of the building was the usual home for the liquor store in a trapezoid model Albertsons store. However, with these trapezoid (and also with the older Skaggs-design stores), the stores were always built with the liquor store on the corner of the building pointing toward the intersection the store was built on. Following that logic, the liquor store should have been on the left side of this building, however that ended up not being the case here. Since the back of the store bumps up to the property line, the loading dock had to be placed on the left side of the building, thus bumping the liquor store to the front right corner instead. Since the liquor store was tucked into the corner of the building, its placement usually dictated the layout of the interior, so a store with the liquor store on the front right corner would have the grand aisle on the left side of the building, and vice versa. With the liquor store on the right side of the building, that means the grand aisle should have been on the left, but I don't know if this store only had the liquor store moved because of the placement of the loading dock, or if it followed the standard interior floorplan described above. Pictures of this store are pretty sparse, so I can't say for sure what option Albertsons chose here.
As we begin to wrap things up, here's one last look at the store's modernized facade. However, behind all those extra stucco details lie the bones of an old Albertsons.
And before we leave, here's that loading dock I was just talking about, which is now used by Ross (the former Michael's side uses a small loading area right behind this, on the opposite side of the wall that truck is backed up to). Having the liquor store on the other side of the building would make it easier for trucks to get in and out of here, without having to deal with extra people walking around here going in and out of the liquor store.
Anyway, that out of the way, let's go up in the air for a look at some satellite imagery, starting with this overview of the shopping center (oriented where north is to the right):
Unlike the other two large shopping centers built at this corner, Albertsons was the sole anchor to this small center, with that small strip of stores coming out from the right side of the former supermarket building.
Now with that little bit of perspective, let's move along to some Bird's Eye aerial images of this former Albertsons store, courtesy of Bing Maps:
And now some historic aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth and historicaerials.com:
Former Albertsons #4358 - 2019
Former Albertsons #4358 - 2009 - The building as seen during its short time abandoned.
Albertsons #4358 - 2007
Albertsons #4358 - 1995
Future Albertsons #4358 - 1984 - This image must have been captured in the earlier part of the year, as we see the shell of the new Albertsons store early in the construction phase.
Future Albertsons #4358 - 1980 - Where everyone thought a Grand Union would sprout would instead give Deerfield Beach an Albertsons
The satellite imagery out of the way, that concludes our tour of former Albertsons #4358! As usual, more Albertsons will be coming your way in two weeks if you're looking for more, so be sure to come back then to see where our Floridian supermarket travels take us next!
So until the next post,
The Albertsons Florida Blogger