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Johnson City says Publix still on track

Robert Houk • Jun 8, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Plans for a new 47,500-square-foot new Publix Super Market and other retail space at the northwest corner of West Market Street and State of Franklin Road are still under municipal review.

Even so, Preston Mitchell, Johnson City’s director of development services, said he is confident building permits could soon be issued for the Publix and other renovations to the shopping center.

“The bottom line is we are still going back-and-forth in the review process,” Mitchell said. “Those are mainly with the building’s third party developer over design for the adjoining space in the shopping center.”

He said actual plans for the Publix “look good.” Mitchell said other renovations in the 62,000-square-foot retail project are still being examined.

“The ball’s in their court,” he said of the developer. “When we get their feedback, we will be ready to issue permits.”

He said delays are often common with such projects.

“There are so many variables,” he said. “There could be issues with financing or leasing. We try to be responsive.”

In a statement released by Publix in 2017 announcing its Johnson City location, the company said its new store will employ about 140 people. Publix was founded in 1930 in Winter Haven, Florida, by George W. Jenkins. It is among the top 10 largest-volume grocery chains in the United States with 1,147 stores in the South.

Publix corporate officials haven’t announced an opening date for the Johnson City location, but the company has indicated on its website that the store would be “coming soon.”

The shopping center site has been largely vacant since 2015 when Food City left for a new store off State of Franklin Road at Sunset Drive.

Food City had occupied the location for 18 years in the Markets West at Franklin. A pizza franchise and a Japanese restaurant currently remain in the shopping center.

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