A new player could enter the New Kent County grocery game as part of a future commercial development planned in Bottoms Bridge.
New Kent supervisors on Monday OK’d a conditional use permit to pave the way for a 150,000-square-foot development expected to include a grocery store and other retail space alongside a mini-storage facility. Dubbed Pocahontas Square, the project would be located on Pocahontas Trail across from the Patriots Landing residential development.
Developer Mark Daniel of Joamark Gloucester said central to the concept is bringing a new major grocer to the New Kent market, which is dominated by Food Lion. The chain has a store just up the street from the development site.
While nothing is definite at this time, Daniel said he has been in talks with several grocery brands.
“I propose to build something in New Kent that would offer some choices to our citizens. I love my grocery store, I like the people I go to. But it’s one player in this marketplace and I’m specifically interested in finding another one,” Daniel said during the board meeting Monday.
The entire development would be about 150,000 square feet. The grocery store would be 50,000 square feet, while the mini-storage facility would be as large as 48,000 square feet. There would also be space for restaurants and other retailers. About eight to 10 acres of the 50-acre property would be developed.
New Kent supervisors voted 3-2 to approve the conditional use permit needed for the project.
Daniel and some supervisors sparred over elements of the project, sticking points being the viability of the retail portion as well as an initial requirement the retail portion be built before the mini-storage portion to screen the mini-storage facility from view. The retail area is planned to be built between the road and the mini-storage area.
“I think in 3 to 5 years, he’ll probably be back here asking for that commercial face to be gone,” Supervisor Thomas Evelyn said. “I do think the commercial needs to be done before the mini-storage.”
Daniel wanted, and ultimately got, that requirement removed. He argued it would be too difficult to secure financing if that requirement were in place.
Daniel said he has modeled the development on Brandy Creek Commons in Mechanicsville, which is anchored by a Publix.
In an interview Wednesday, Daniel said it was too early to peg a number to the development’s cost, but said it would be in the millions of dollars. The plan is to build the storage area by the winter, and he estimated the retail area would be completed in about two years. Daniel’s firm does not yet own the land, but does plan to acquire it.
The development would be constructed near VCU’s recently opened emergency medical center in the county.