Publix storefront

It’s official.

Publix Super Markets has executed a lease on a new store location in Waynesville.

The brief news release issued Thursday states the store will be at Waynesville Pavilion, located at the southwest corner of Russ Avenue and Great Smoky Mountain Expressway.

The store will be about 49,000 square feet and will employ 140 when it opens in early 2019.

The official announcement is largely anticlimactic. Last October, The Mountaineer quoted Don Stephenson, a broker/realtor with ReMax Mountain Realty in Waynesville, saying he was working with MAB Acquisitions, LLC, on a retail project that involved four properties off Russ Avenue.

Plans submitted to the Waynesville Development Services office this May didn’t specifically state which company the building was being prepared for, but one of the design documents had the word “Publix” on the building.

Also in early May, John Argo, a developer working with the joint venture between Australian-based MAB Corporation and IRC, on the property and building project, said the news of which retailers were part of the project wasn’t his to announce.

At two public hearings that followed, one before the Waynesville Planning Board and one before the Waynesville Board of Alderman, there was likewise no specific mention of the tenants.

The July 20 news release sent out by Publix marked the first official confirmation that the major Southeast grocery chain would open its doors in Waynesville.

In addition to the large space for a grocer, there is a six-unit retail center at around 7,200 square feet associated with the venture.

The project is estimated to cost $15 - 20 million to develop.

The first noticeable changes to the site, developers said at the public hearings, will be the demolition of The Lodge Motel and the Big Red Barn buildings, as well as number of smaller buildings.

There are no records yet available at the Haywood County Register of Deeds office on the sale of the four properties that were needed to complete the development.

Cindy Smith, general manager of The Lodge Motel, said her parents, will finalize the property sale at the end of the month.

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