A long-rumored new grocery store in downtown Raleigh was confirmed Thursday as a Publix supermarket in the ground floor of an apartment tower at the southeast corner of Peace and West streets.
The site is in an area that has been an unfocused spread of small stores, state offices and land that is beginning to take shape as a defined commercial and residential northern border of downtown.
Raleigh Kane Realty and Williams Realty & Building Co. last year announced plans to build an $85 million to $100 million project that will include 400 apartments and ground floor retail. Publix will occupy 45,600 square feet of the building.
“We’re excited to welcome Publix as the first grocery store in downtown Raleigh and as the anchor of our mixed-use development,” said Owen Williams of Williams Realty & Building Co. “This announcement is an important milestone in our partnership with Kane Realty on the transformative redevelopment of the area formerly known as Smokey Hollow.”
The supermarket will be part of a development called Peace, and the residential and retail 12-story tower will feature luxury apartments and a parking deck. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2020.
Kane Realty’s announcement on Thursday points out the location’s proximity to major roads traversing Raleigh and to the future city Devereux Meadows Park at Peace Street and Capital Boulevard, along with state improvements to Capital Boulevard.
“Adding a major grocery store helps make downtown more livable and walkable and is another sign that we are becoming a major urban center,” said Bill King of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. “Our hope is that this will help transform Peace Street into a stronger urban corridor.”
Harris Teeter still coming
A Harris Teeter grocery store announced for nearby Seaboard Station last year is still moving forward, said Billie Redmond of TradeMark Properties, which manages the commercial site. Redmond called the Publix announcement “an exciting one for downtown Raleigh.”
Originally, the Harris Teeter had planned to begin construction late this year or early next, but that has been delayed by a redesign. Initial plans called for 300 beds for William Peace University students as part of a redevelopment of Seaboard. But the student housing is no longer part of the plan, Redmond said.
Student housing will be reviewed in a master plan the university is developing now. TradeMark Properties and Lowe Enterprises have been working on expanding and developing the retail center and are currently consulting with city staff on the details, she added.
The state Department of Transportation is replacing the Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street and the Wade Avenue bridge over Capital in a three-year project to replace the aging structures and improve traffic flow along that heavily traveled corridor.
Crews have also been tearing down city-owned buildings along Capital Boulevard in advance of creating the park and a greenway along the northern border of downtown.
And Raleigh is spending $2.1 million to widen sidewalks and add trees on Peace Street from West to St. Mary’s streets.
A soccer league has proposed a 22,000-seat stadium on Peace Street across from Seaboard Station that would anchor a conference center, offices, apartments and a hotel. But the proposal has not advanced since it was made public in July.
Publix is the largest employee-owned supermarket in the country. It has 1,157 stores in seven southern states.