Q: What is the status of the former Sports Authority location at Pine Ridge and Airport? A furniture store had been projected at what seems a desirable location.

— Ann Wise, Naples

A: Miami-based El Dorado Furniture still plans to create a showroom in the former Sports Authority store in North Naples, although progress has barely been visible since its local intentions were reported seven months ago.

The company’s 15th store is targeted to open in the first quarter of 2018 at the former Sports Authority location on the northeast corner of Airport-Pulling and Pine Ridge roads, said Pedro Capó, chief operating officer of the family furniture business.

The new store has taken longer than anticipated, Capó said Friday.

“We’ve emptied the place out,” he said. “We should begin to do some prep work in three to four weeks.”

El Dorado stores feature a creative interior layout with a village concept that includes a winding street, street lights, park benches, murals and signs directing visitors to its departments. Old-fashioned light posts and brick pavers are used in the parking lot, Capó said.

The old store’s facade will be removed and replaced with El Dorado showroom elevations that feature a tower on the southwest corner of the building. Proposed site improvements include restriping and resealing pavement, upgrading lighting and landscaping, constructing landscape islands for two of the parking rows and adding decorative stamped concrete in a basket-weave pattern to the driveway entrances, site plans show.

Canizo LLC, a company operated by the Capó family, purchased the 20-year-old building and property at 2505 Pine Ridge Road for $10.35 million in September. The nearly 44,000-square-foot store was built on 3.86 acres in 1996, Collier County property records show.

El Dorado has corporate offices and eight stores in Miami-Dade County, three locations in Broward and two in Palm Beach County. It opened its first Gulf Coast store on U.S. 41 in Fort Myers three years ago. The South Florida company’s interior and exterior home furnishings also may be purchased online at ElDoradoFurniture.com.

“We’ve been delivering to the west coast of Florida for about 20 years,” Capó said. “We’ve been getting a lot of inquiries from customers asking when we will open a store in Naples.”

El Dorado takes its name from the 24-foot makeshift sailboat that company founder Manuel Capó and two of his sons used to flee Cuba in 1966. The children and grandchildren continue to operate the company 50 years after El Dorado Furniture’s first store opened in Miami’s Little Havana in 1967.

The longtime Sports Authority store in Naples closed last summer after the Colorado-based sporting goods company filed for bankruptcy in March 2016 and shuttered all of its more than 450 stores, six of which were in Southwest Florida.

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