If you thought the area surrounding the intersection of Harris Trail Road and Hwy. 17 was booming with development, you haven’t seen anything yet.
A grocery store and shopping plaza is slated to go up next to the new Bryan Bank & Trust branch that is being built.
A sketch plan review of the forthcoming center was presented to the Richmond Hill Planning and Zoning Board on May 13.
In addition to the grocery story, six additional retail fronts will be built in the plaza. Property owner Mark Ball, a North Carolina resident who specializes in grocery-anchored shopping center development, said no businesses have committed to the plaza yet, but the stores will be "neighborhood type services like a barber shop, cleaners, an insurance agent, restaurants."
The P and Z Board and Director Steve Scholar discussed the plan and advised developers to increase their parking capacity to add 17 spaces and to get D.O.T. approval for access to the proposed center.
Although a contract has not been signed with the chain, the name "Food Lion" was briefly mentioned at the meeting by the development team. Also, Food Lion was named on the original P and Z request in March, which was pulled to make Tuesday the first public meeting on this venture.
This brings up the question of wether the Richmond Hill Harvey’s, which is under the Food Lion banner, will remain in the event the deal does go through.
In the course of the meeting, Scholar asked the developers, "Will the opening of this store indicate the closing of another?" Ball said he has no knowledge of such a plan.
Harvey’s Assistant Manager Ricky Wright said he has not received word of any planned closing, but that the Harvey’s would most likely close if the Harris Trail store goes up. This, along with the old Kroger building, would leave two vacated grocery stores at the area of Hwys. 17 and 144.
When asked why he targeted Richmond Hill for this project, Ball said it was due to "good location, good traffic and good growth, both business and residential."
Ball said the forthcoming 1,100 acre Richmond Reserve subdivision on Daniel Siding Road, in the same part of town, may have been a consideration by his associates when developing the tract.
Part of the tract is a large area of wetlands which Ball said he has no plans to develop; rather it just was part of the tract that the previous owner did not want to subdivide.
If everything falls into place, Richmond Hill might have a store sometime in 2009 – if everything goes smoothly.
The next step is the presentation of a site plan to the P and Z Board, which Scholar said should be in the next few weeks. The plans will then be presented to city council for voting.
Note: Rulings made by the P and Z Board are recommendations to city council. City council then decides on the final approval or disapproval of planning and zoning matters.
In other business:
-Harold Freeman was approved for a permit to open a retail pool and spa store in the old Kroger plaza. It will be in the space where Movies, Music and More used to be.
-William Wallace was approved for a permit to open a mini-storage facility next to the A-1 Motel on Hwy. 17.