Mayor Bill Hereford announced Tuesday that a Publix store is locating at the new South Park Shopping Center, a 13-acre development at the corner of U.S. 231 and South Park Drive.
“I have been notified by my good friend Bill Ellison that a lease was signed and fully executed,” Hereford said Tuesday in the council chamber at City Hall.
Ellison, along with Councilwoman Dot Wood, were also at the press conference to announce the arrival of a Publix Super Market store in Pell City.
Hereford said for Publix to choose Pell City says a lot about what retailers think about the city.
“With all the gloom and doom, I hate to use this, but it’s a shot in the arm,” Hereford said. “It’s just a great boost for us. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”
He said the new Publix could spur more economic growth in the area where it is locating in the south end of Pell City.
“I’m so excited and proud of this,” Ellison said. “People are going to enjoy this.”
The 45,600 square foot Publix will anchor the 13-acre shopping center, which will have an additional 24,000 square feet of shop space, and three out-parcels that will go up for sale immediately.
Ellison said a Bojangle’s restaurant is locating at one of the three retail out-parcels that front U.S. 231.
Publix will be at the back of the 13-acre development, between U.S. 231 and Hardwick Road.
The front of the Publix Super Market store will face U.S. 231, Ellison said.
Ellison is owner of the South Park Shopping Center.
He credits Dick Schmalz, his development partner, for landing Publix.
“Dick Schmalz is the most knowledgeable grocery man — period,” Ellison said. “Dick is truly a professional.”
Schmalz is also a member of Retail Specialists Inc., which will handle store leases and property sales, as well as manage the entire shopping center for Ellison.
“This will make it a quality project,” Ellison said.
He said it took five years of work to bring Publix to Pell City.
Ellison said it was possible because of the strong support he had from the mayor, council, County Commission and financial lenders.
“I did put the meat on the hook, and the fish did bite,” he said.
Ellison said the location for the new store is perfect.
He said the Alabama Department of Transportation agreed to put up a new traffic light at the intersection of U.S. 231 and South Park Drive, once Publix agreed to locate on the property.
He said the construction of Publix should be complete by late summer or early fall 2011.
Ellison said there were multiple competitors for the new store.
“In the end, they picked the best spot,” he said.