Publix considers North Raleigh site for second Triangle store

dbracken@newsobserver.comNovember 25, 2013 

Publix Super Markets, the Florida chain that is expanding aggressively across North Carolina, is considering a site in North Raleigh for its second store in the Triangle.

Morgan Property Group, a Charlotte developer that works with Publix to identify and develop new stores, is working to rezone a 12-acre site on the east side of Falls of Neuse Road near the entrance to the Bedford at Falls River subdivision.

Jeff Surrency, Morgan’s executive vice president of development, said Monday that he couldn’t disclose the name of the anchor tenant being considered for the site. But he confirmed it is a grocery chain.

“I can tell you we’re looking to do a smaller, neighborhood grocery,” he said. “It is upper scale.”

He said the tenant has several store sizes, and this location would be its smallest at under 50,000 square feet.

“It is intended to be a small, neighborhood center,” Surrency said. “It’s essentially going to service the 11,000 to 15,000 people that live in and around the intersection of Falls of Neuse and Dunn” roads.

The center would have room for a bank and several other smaller retail shops. The land is now vacant.

Surrounding property owners were notified earlier this month that Morgan had a contract to purchase two parcels of land. A portion of the property must first be removed from the Falls River planned development district before a rezoning request can be filed.

Morgan’s request to remove the land from the planned development district will be reviewed by the city’s Planning Commission at its meeting Tuesday.

The rezoning proposal is likely to draw close scrutiny from surrounding neighbors. Neighbors have fought previous efforts to develop the property, citing traffic concerns and that the land is in the Falls Lake watershed.

Joe Corey, chair of the North Citizens Advisory Council, said a number of residents who live near the property showed up at the council’s last meeting to discuss the property with Doug Hill, a city planner, even though it wasn’t on the agenda.

“They just don’t want to be completely overwhelmed by this massive complex,” Corey said.

Surrency said his firm is confident the project is the right size for the location, and Morgan looks forward to presenting the details to the public.

Publix has been scouting potential store sites in the Triangle for months.

In August, the company announced that it would open its first Triangle store in Cary in late 2014. That store will be in the Bradford shopping center, a retail and residential development under construction at the corner of Davis Drive and High House Road.

Publix’s entrance into North Carolina has been viewed as a direct challenge to Harris Teeter, the Matthews-based grocer that is being acquired by Kroger for $2.8 billion. The North Raleigh site being considered by Publix is about a mile and a half from the Harris Teeter store near the corner of Falls of Neuse and Durant roads.

Bracken: 919-829-4548; Twitter: @brackendavid

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