I would use the stand, but it won't work in that spot. The reason there is no wall there is that it is the opening into the next room. I can't really have a speaker stand in the middle of the walkway.
I'm leaning towards keeping things the way they are, and getting the storage unit for the big wall to keep CD/DVD's, unless I can come up with a better idea. 11 feet back from the TV might not be bad, since I'm sure we'll still be watching SD as well, which probably would not look too good from 8feet (although the HD is supposed to be better from 8).