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New Publix prototype store coming to north Forsyth County
FCN Publix Matt Community 102818
Charlie Heard, vice president of development for Retail Planning Corporation, shows north Forsyth County residents the new prototype Publix store that will be part of a 90,000-square-foot shopping center tentatively set to open by early spring of 2020 at a town hall meeting Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, at the Coal Mountain Community Center. - photo by Alexander Popp

With construction set for a new Publix supermarket at the intersection of Bannister Road and Hwy. 369, residents in north Forsyth will soon have a new grocery option opening right around the corner. 

On Thursday night, residents got their first look at the new 48,387-square-foot store and heard from developers and county officials at a town hall meeting held in the Coal Mountain Community Center. 

According to Charlie Heard, vice president of development for Retail Planning Corporation and the site developer, the new prototype Publix store will be part of a 90,000-square-foot shopping center that is tentatively set to open by early spring of 2020. 

“That community has been wanting a grocery store since I assembled this land in 2004,” Heard said. “And you know, the good news too is it's Publix. There are a lot of good grocery stores out there, but Publix is the gold standard.”

Later, Heard said that they couldn't confirm what businesses they are in talks with for the shopping center, but at the meeting Heard and his partners mentioned several restaurants that have expressed interest in the location, including J. Christopher’s, Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Residents directed questions about the new development to Heard, District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, County Attorney Ken Jarrard and County Engineering Director John Cunard. 

Jarrard explained that the plot of land being considered has been zoned since 2004 and is currently under different layers of regulations, including the Coal Mountain Overlay, the Forsyth County Unified Development Code and the Big Box ordinance. 

But according to Mills, the site’s Residential Manufactured Park (MDP) zoning will allow them more flexibility while maintaining a quality development. 

“That was the easiest way,” Mills said. “If not that, staff was going to have to prepare and advertise over 20-something variances and it was just going to be exhausting for everyone … and it looked horrible.”

But before the site groundbreaking in early 2019, Heard explained to the crowd of residents that they still have a lot of work to do on the site, including roadway projects on Bannister Road and Hwy. 369 that will add a lane to each road

“We're spending about $1.2 million on what I call off-site road improvements upgrading to State Route 369 and to Bannister Road,” he said.