Publix signs lease for one more Richmond-area store

A Publix Super Market will anchor a new shopping center proposed for an 18.02-acre site at Mechanicsville Turnpike and Brandy Creek Drive in Hanover County.

The 49,000-square-foot Publix store in the proposed Brandy Creek Commons development will be the Lakeland, Fla.-based grocery retailer’s 12th store planned for the Richmond region as it carries out an aggressive plan to open stores in Virginia.

The projected opening date for this store is mid-2018, a Publix spokeswoman said Tuesday. The store will employ about 140 workers.

 Publix is buying 10 area Martin’s Food Markets stores, seven of which have already closed and are undergoing renovations to become Publix stores. The company has not said when those stores will open, but the renovation work on the stores is proceeding at a good clip.

In addition, Publix is building a 49,000-square-foot store from the ground up at the northeast corner of Nuckols and Twin Hickory roads in western Henrico County. It is part of a planned 90,000-square-foot shopping center to be known as Nuckols Place. Construction of that store also is well under way.

Publix announced a year ago this month that it was entering Virginia with a store in Henrico and one in Bristol, which is slated to open in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The chain initially said the Nuckols Place store would open sometime in 2018, but last July moved up the opening date to sometime this year. The company hasn’t given an exact opening date for that store.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Morgan Property Group is the developer of the proposed Brandy Creek Commons development, said Zachary Means, vice president of commercial real estate brokerage firm Divaris Real Estate Inc.

The Brandy Creek Commons center will be adjacent to the Hanover Village Shopping Center, which contains an Aldi grocery store, a Tractor Supply Co. store and other retailers. The planned center would be behind a Bank of America and Sonic restaurant. A portion of the 18.02-acre site fronts Mechanicsville Turnpike.

“We are going to develop a 13,000-square-foot retail strip right next to the Publix, and then we’ll develop an outparcel fronting the shopping center as part of the development,” said Trey Morgan, president of Morgan Property Group, a commercial real estate development and brokerage business.

“We have a number of parties that are interested in leasing most of the space. There has been a fairly robust demand. We don’t announce anyone until we have signed leases. We are prepared to announce additional tenants probably in the next two to three weeks,” Morgan said.

Morgan said the land is zoned for commercial use, and proposed site plans have been submitted to Hanover County county officials.

Morgan Property Group has worked on other retail developments in which Publix is an anchor, including a shopping center that is under development in Clemmons, N.C., a suburb of Winston-Salem, N.C.

Morgan said his company also is working with Publix on other possible sites, including locations in Virginia.

 Morgan Property Group also has developed other retail projects in the region including a freestanding Walgreens drug store at Mechanicsville Turnpike and Lee Davis Road and a retail development containing a Walgreens, AutoZone and Connects Federal Credit Union at Chamberlayne and Atlee roads, both of which are in Hanover.

Means, of Divaris Real Estate Inc., handled lease negotiations for Morgan Property Group, which purchased the land from United Dominion Realty Trust Inc., and he continues to work on leasing space in the development. Tred Spratley of Sigma National Inc. represented the seller.

The property sold for $3.5 million, Spratley said.

Virginia marks the retailer’s seventh state of operation. Publix announced its entry into North Carolina in September 2012 and opened its first location in the Tar Heel State in February 2014.

Publix was founded in 1930 in Winter Haven, Fla., by businessman George W. Jenkins. The nation’s largest employee-owned grocery chain has 1,143 stores in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee and has about 189,500 workers.

By Tammie Smith, Richmond Times-Dispatch, (804) 649-6572