By Kara Lopp
It’s official: Publix wants to open a grocery store in Mint Hill.
The mystery grocer eyeing an anchor space in the proposed Mint Hill Commons shopping center was revealed Thursday, June 13, after months of secrecy and rumors.
Scott MacLaren, of the Florida-based Stiles Corporation, made the announcement at town hall during a presentation and public hearing for the project. The town’s planning board was expected to review the project this week and town commissioners could vote on the project July 18, Senior Planner John Hoard said. No one from the public spoke during the hearing.
The development would bring a right-in/right-out entrance to the Mint Hill Library, additional library access from Lawyers Road and a raised pedestrian crosswalk on N.C. 51.
These are among several road changes Stiles suggests as part of the planned mixed-use development on about 54 acres bordered by Matthews-Mint Hill and Lawyers roads. The 65,000-square-foot retail shopping center development on about 11 acres at the front of the site, across from Jimmie’s Restaurant, would be anchored by a 49,098-square-foot Publix with a pharmacy drive-thru. The remaining acreage is slated for single-family houses or townhouses, to be built in a second phase.
Stiles also needs approval from commissioners to include the drive-thru pharmacy because drive-thrus aren’t allowed in the downtown overlay district.
If approved, construction could begin as early as the first quarter of 2014 and the retail portion of the project could be complete within a year, MacLaren previously said. The Stiles company has done extensive work with Publix.
According to the proposal, the retail project also would include four other retail/office buildings ranging from about 2,800 square feet to 6,500 square feet. The proposed pharmacy drive-thru would be sandwiched between the 2,800-square-foot building and the grocery store so it cannot be seen from N.C. 51, MacLaren said. Plans also show a 1/5-acre, or about 7,000-square-foot, pocket park featuring trees and benches near Matthews-Mint Hill Road in between the retail buildings. An eight-acre wooded area toward the back of the site will be undisturbed, according to the proposal. Stiles doesn’t know yet how a 1.19-acre parcel at the intersection of Matthews-Mint Hill Road and Hawthorne Drive will be developed, but the firm wants to maintain control of the land, MacLaren previously said.
Access to the retail center would be possible two ways off Matthews-Mint Hill Road and through one driveway off Lawyers Road, according to the proposal. Draft plans show the extension of the existing Brighton Park Drive with a concrete median installed in front of Evans Road, forcing a right-in/right-out into the Mint Hill Library. The proposal also calls for the construction of a rear driveway to give library patrons and shoppers access to Lawyers Road.
The median, which will be landscaped and include a raised pedestrian crosswalk, is part of a state long-term plan for the road, MacLaren said.
Results of a traffic study conducted for the project, which touches Farmwood East, recommend a traffic signal at Brighton Park Drive and N.C. 51 by full build-out. But Stiles has committed to install the signal in the first phase, if the North Carolina Department of Transportation approves, Hoard said. The entire project – retail and residential – is expected to be complete by 2018, according to the proposal.
The retail site is expected to generate 132 new morning peak hour trips and 331 new afternoon/evening peak hour trips, according to the traffic study.
Last month’s vote by the North Carolina Environment Management Committee to allow the transfer of Charlote-Mecklenburg Utility Department water to the Goose Creek Basin, will allow Stiles to develop 35 additional acres as residential property, MacLaren previously said.
To view Stiles’ presentation, visit www.minthill.com/DocumentCenter/Index/205.