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Publix May Have Its Eye On High Point

November 30th, 2015

Story by: Kristin Zachary, posted on 

Construction is ongoing in Winston-Salem for the Triad’s first Publix and, though it won’t open till next year, it seems the grocer is bullish about adding locations in the area, including one possibly in High Point. 

Late last month, it was reported that New Orleans-based G.H.K. Developments Inc., which has been involved mostly with Walgreens developments in the Triad but has a relationship with Publix, had filed to rezone 15 acres off Westchester Drive near its intersection with North Main Street in High Point. If OK’d, the property would become home to a grocer and other retail. 

Although Tom Terrell, the Greensboro attorney representing G.H.K. for the project, says the developer has a grocer on the hook, he and others involved are keeping mum when it comes to naming the retailer. He did say plans call for a nearly 50,000-square-foot grocery store. 

That floor plan fits with Publix’s average square footage. Many of the grocer’s recently opened or upcoming locations are 45,600 or 49,098 square feet, according to its website. Kimberly Reynolds, a company spokeswoman, said that Publix does not comment on new locations without a signed lease but that the grocer always is looking at new store sites. 

The grocer has been aggressive in its expansion in North Carolina. 

“We’re really excited about North Carolina,” company President Todd Jones told the Tampa Bay Business Journal, a sister publication, last month. “We’ve had a lot of new stores opened up there. We’ve got two more we’re opening this year and several new sites that we’ve approved. So we have a huge concentration on getting a new market established.” 

The grocer has targeted Charlotte and has at least a dozen stores open there and a few more expected by 2017. It’s also been active in the Triangle, with one store open in Cary and two more planned. Publix recently opened its first store in the Asheville area and reportedly has plans for a 2017 opening in Boone, according to a report last week in the Winston-Salem Journal. 

In the Triad, a 49,000-square-foot store on Miller Street in Winston-Salem is on track for a 2016 opening, likely during the first half of the year, Reynolds said. 

The grocer also was rumored to have been looking at Clemmons, as we’ve reported, and had its eye on a Greensboro property that ultimately did not work for its typical floor plan. Reynolds would not confirm whether Publix is looking at opening locations in Clemmons or Greensboro. She also would not say if other Triad locations are in the works. 

Publix also is looking farther east, announcing in August that it signed a lease for its first Wilmington grocery store, a 45,000-square-foot location expected to open in late 2016. 

The Wilmington Star-News reports that project’s developer to be GHK Cape Fear, a partnership between New Orleans-based G.H.K. and Wilmington-based Cape Fear Commercial. Given that relationship already is established — and that G.H.K.’s proposed floor plan for the High Point property fits with Publix’s average store size — it wouldn’t be surprising if the mystery grocer later is announced to be Publix. 

Publix, like any retailer, looks at demographics when choosing a location. And Terrell, the attorney representing G.H.K., says the Westchester Drive property is great for retail. 

“The demographics are strong,” he said. “It is near the busiest intersection in the city of High Point. It would have at least seven points of ingress/egress. This has always been a strong site.” 

Entrances would include at least one on North Main, one on Westchester near the Sherwin-Williams Paint Store, one on Idol Street and three on Fisher Avenue, Terrell said. The site also has room for retail on outparcels near Bruster’s Real Ice Cream and Sherwin-Williams. There also is the potential for redevelopment of the old Ham’s site, Terrell said, as well as additional space on the property for a “couple more smaller retail shops.” 

Terrell said response from neighbors has been “very, very positive.” His involvement with G.H.K. projects spans 15 years, and he says the small family-owned company has an impeccable reputation and is “among the last of the breed of people who do things on a handshake.” 

View the original story on the Triad Business Journal’s website. 

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