Another Venice landmark has bit the dust. Contractors are tearing down the former Basketville store at 4411 S. Tamiami Trail. It is part of a 6.5-acre site, said Loyd Robbins, president of Harry Robbins Associates, Commercial Realtors.

Ownership remains the same as it has been for years, said Robbins, who is working on several ideas with the owner to develop plans for the site. The owners determined the old building added no value to the property, so it was decided it would be better to tear it down.

Built in 1964 with an area of 14,841 square feet, Basketville was a landmark for many years. It’s big yellow sign with black writing was — along with Cook’s Sportland, which is still very much in business — among the signs of civilization to greet travelers as they approached Venice from the south. Before Interstate 75 was completed in the mid-1980s, U.S. 41 was the main north-south route between Naples and Tampa.

As its name implied, the store stocked thousand of baskets of all shapes, sizes and purposes. There were baskets suitable for gift-giving, decorator baskets for the home, laundry baskets and picnic baskets.

The business closed several years ago. The property has been leased since, the most recent being Leaping Lizards a children’s entertainment center which closed some time ago.

Robbins said the nearby intersection of Jacaranda Boulevard at U.S. 41 has become a sought-after retail area with the growth of Venice Village Shoppes and the Walmart Supercenter. Another recent addition to the area is the Wawa gas and convenience center at the junction of State Road 776 and U.S. 41.

“We see more than one major retailer on the former Basketville location which could also encompass smaller retailers,” said Robbins. “We are preparing a master plan for property, because of its very good location on U.S. 41 at the junction of Woodmere Park Boulevard and the future growth of West Villages to the south.”

The property fronts U.S. 41, known as South Tamiami Trail, together with the rear parcel and adjoining land to the south facing Woodmere Park Boulevard with Jacaranda Shopping Center with Target, Bealls and Staples.

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