Publix Super Markets Inc. has signed on to open its first area store in the forthcoming Nuckols Place Shopping Center at 5400 Wyndham Forest Drive, near the intersection of Nuckols and Twin Hickory roads.
The Lakeland, Florida-based grocery chain will anchor the 107,000-square-foot development, which sits on land originally readied by Ukrop’s.
CBRE | Richmond’s David Crawford and Kevin South assisted the grocer in finding a Richmond location. Crawford said Publix had been looking for a site in the area for about two years.Publix’s Glen Allen store will be about 49,000 square feet, Crawford said, adding that the grocer has signed a long-term lease for the location. It is unclear when construction will start, but Publix said in a release it plans to open in 2018.
“Entering the Virginia market was a natural progression for them in terms of their expansion throughout the Southeastern U.S. and up to the Mid-Atlantic,” he said. “They’ve entered North Carolina, and their distribution network can handle Virginia, too.”
Publix also announced plans today to open a store in Bristol, Virginia. It operates stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. It is the largest employee-owned grocery store in the country, according to its website, operating over 1,100 locations.
The 15-acre Nuckols Place was sold last July by Ukrop’s Super Markets Inc., which had held the parcel since 2003 and prepared the site for development. Ukrop’s previous plans to build a store there were halted when the chain sold to Martin’s. The buyers were Maryland-based Virginia Financial Investors and the Peterson Cos., a Northern Virginia developer.
Publix is one of several new grocery chain arrivals vying for a piece of the Richmond market. Wegmans will open its first Richmond stores this year, and German grocers Lidl and Aldi continue to dot the local map with multiple stores respectively. That’s in addition to considerable operations here from Kroger, Food Lion, Walmart, Martin’s and others.
Publix wasn’t dissuaded by the competition, Crawford said.
“They’re really well-known for customer service, high-quality food and just a little bit of an upscale experience,” he said. “The Ukrop’s business was so focused on strong customer service – Publix is going to come in and do just that and be very focused on a very high customer service experience.”