No more cruise-ins at local shopping centers | Automotive

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No more cruise-ins at local shopping centers

UPDATE, 7/19/13: The owners of the Julington Square and Merrill Station shopping centers have agreed to allow upcoming Sunshine State Chevelle Club cruise-ins to go on as scheduled.

The event at Julington Square on July 20 and the cruise-in scheduled for Aug. 3 at Merrill Station can go on to allow the club to find new cruise-in locations, according to property manager and leasing agent Kristen Nimnicht.

JULINGTON CREEK, Fla. -- Chris Conover loves his muscle cars and is president of the Sunshine State Chevelle Club.

"We are a nonprofit," he said.

Conover believes in traditions and is trying to save his club's tradition of cruise-ins at Julington Square shopping center.

"We are trying to keep this going," he said, "We've been here for so long."

A few days ago the club was told they can no longer use the shopping center. It puts an end to a decade-old tradition.

"When we fill this parking lot," said Conover, "we have about 150 cars for three hours once a month."

He said there has never been a problem until now. The shopping center has a new tenant, Walmart Neighborhood Market, and the club believes the new tenant is behind it.

"Yes they have a right to tell us we can't come here," he said, "That's why we are trying to work it out.

The nonprofit has started a petition drive.

Walmart spokesperson Kayla Whaling said Walmart does not own the shopping center.

"Walmart did not set the guidelines for use of the parking lot," said Whaling, "The club needs to take it up with the property manager."

Conover said they plan to kick their petition drive in high gear. They would like to continue their tradition in the Mandarin and Arlington communities.

But the property manager told the club via email nothing is going to change.

Kristen Nimnicht, property manager and leasing agent, said the owners of the properties have given the directive to cancel the cruise-in events, effective immediately.

"The centers cannot accommodate the traffic driven by businesses at the centers in addition to the cruise-in participants," wrote Nimnicht.

The shopping centers are Merrill Station and Julington Square and they're owned by GDCJAX3, LLC. and Julington Square one, LLC.

"I hope that you and your group can respect the owners' decision," wrote Nimnicht, "The landlord has no choice but to protect the best interest of the shopping center tenants."          

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