Development group gearing up for 'Publix" shopping center

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A Florida-based commercial development company is moving forward on a large shopping center project at the corner of North Columbia Street and Log Cabin Road that will be anchored by a grocery store.

If "a large shopping center project at the corner of North Columbia Street and Log Cabin Road that will be anchored by a grocery store" sounds familiar, that's because one already exists. Kroger and the first set of outparcel businesses opened in 2011 at the corner of North Columbia and Log Cabin.

Now, The Sembler Group, based in Tampa Bay, Fla., is gearing up to break ground on a project that will sit directly across Log Cabin Road. The first back hoes and grading equipment should be rolling in "around the first of the year," according to Tom Hareas, company Vice President for development.

Hareas previously told Baldwin2k News that the clearing and construction phase of the project was "expected to take about a year-and-a-half to complete," which would put the new target opening date for the shopping center somewhere around the summer of 2024.

The new grocery store is very strongly rumored to be Publix, although development groups and large chain stores such as Publix prefer to do a more formal public announcement, closer to the date of construction, as opposed to telling some random local news reporter ahead of time.

In the mean time, Sembler currently is working on obtaining all of the various permits and easements. The new Publix property sits on a series of wetlands, which makes the permitting process more complex and complicated, relative to most commercial properties in Milledveville-Baldwin County.

Sembler also is taking this time  to receive inquiries from prospective business owners and corporations. The shopping center will include a number of outparcels in different sizes and configurations. 

"We've been receiving a lot of interest, and the feedback we've been receiving about the project and the location have been great," Hareas told Baldwin2k News. "Obviously, there's a great deal of growth taking place in your area and exciting things going on. We look forward to signing leases with a number of businesses in the near future."

The Sembler Group more recently completed the North Macon Plaza shopping center off of Interstate 75 in Macon, which includes the following stores listed in the image below...

Several of the parcels of land being gobbled up by The Sembler Group previously were in the county and had to be annexed in the city. This means that the Milledveville Police Department will respond to calls from the new Publix shopping center, while the Kroger shopping center, although directly across the street, is located in the unincorporated county and served by the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, once again illustrating Milledgeville-Baldwin County's sometimes confounding issues with service delivery and geographic borders.

The Sembler group currently has "purchase agreements" on three different pieces of property and "plans to close in the fall of this year," according to Hareas.

Sembler's goal is to have access into the new shopping center from both North Columbia Street and Log Cabin Road, basically the same as the Kroger shopping center. The new shopping center primarily will occupy two large parcels. The first is the 19.6-acre property at 111 Log Cabin Road, an undeveloped piece of land that borders Elements Car Wash to the east and the Long Leaf Trail/Horton Homes neighborhood to the north. Also involved is the 8.77-acre property at 2781 North Columbia Street, just south of Elements Car Wash and closer to town. The third property involved, which is much smaller, sits at the dead end of Turkey Run in the Long Leaf Trail/Horton Homes neighborhood.

For more perspective, see the screen grabs immediately below:

Outlined is Kroger (information courtesy of the Baldwin County Tax Assessor's Office)

Outlined is the property at 111 Log Cabin Road (information courtesy of the Baldwin County Tax Assessor's Office)

Outlined is the property at 2781 North Columbia Street (information courtesy of the Baldwin County Tax Assessor's Office)


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