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A contractor started work Wednesday on Hendersonville's first Publix, a 50,000-square-foot supermarket on Greenville Highway at White Street. A contractor started work Wednesday on Hendersonville's first Publix, a 50,000-square-foot supermarket on Greenville Highway at White Street.

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A contractor broke ground today on a 50,000-square-foot Publix store on Greenville Highway at White Street expected to be finished in 10 months.

Falsely rumored to have pulled up stakes, Publix and the developer of its grocery stores, Halvorsen Development Corp., have been working behind the scenes to win permits from environmental, zoning and traffic regulators.  Publix hired general contractor Benning Construction Co. of Atlanta, which paid $30,688 for building permits at the Henderson County Building Permit office on Monday. Benning described the job as a $4.4 million structure.

"Halvorsen is the owner representative" for pre-construction work and development, said Anthony Long, senior project manager for Benning. "Our contract is with Publix. It'll be a 10-month project. We're just kicking off today."

The contractor and representatives of the city, county, NCDOT and others met on the site under two canopies for a preconstruction meeting. Heavy equipment was being trucked in and unloaded and stacks of 24-inch pipe were already on the ground. They will be used for the intensely planned and much-scrutinized hyrdrologic engineering job to build a 50,000-square-foot store and parking lot in the Mud Creek floodplain.

Engineers have designed a system of 659 geo-piers, a structural support used to support large buildings in wet areas. Motorists will see dump trucks hauling in hundreds of loads of dirt to raise the site above the floodplain.

"In eight to 10 weeks they should see the building come out of the ground," Long said.

Other contractors identified in the building permit were electrical contractor Haynes Heating and Cooling of Asheville, plumbing contractor Lloyd Blackwood of Woodleaf (near Salisbury) and Diboco Fire Sprinklers of Flat Rock.

The city, which is the clearinghouse to check off those permits, issued a zoning permit on Friday, said city planner Daniel Heyman.
“They submitted plans and they have final site plan approval,” Heyman said. “We got confirmation from DOT, from the state and all our city departments that they met all the requirements.”

Charlotte-based Publix spokeswoman Kim Reynolds confirmed the approximate timeline of construction.

"Weather and other factors certainly can affect construction, yet our plan is to have the store completed in mid-late 2018," she said. “We don’t have a confirmed opening date at this time."
Word that the Lakeland, Fla.-based grocery giant was looking to build a store here first surfaced in February 2015 when the city attorney told the Hendersonville City Council that Publix needed a small sliver of city-owned land to complete a seven-acre site on Greenville Highway at White Street. Since then, Halvorsen has been working on getting the permits and preparing the site. After Publix bought the land for $5,795,000, in June 2016, contractors cleared the site. Receiving a permit from the Federal Emergency Management Agency consumed several more months of studies and negotiations.
One of the last steps occurred last month when Publix bought a .0767-acre strip of land along Greenville Highway from Chadwick Square Shopping Center LLC, the owner of the old Food Lion site. The land cost $100,000, according to Henderson County land records.
Publix also negotiated agreements with landowner William A. Pace Jr. for a drainage easement and temporary access for construction staging.
The NCDOT is requiring Publix to add a northbound center turn lane into the southern-most driveway entrance. The property sale and easement agreements were recorded on June 28.
Plans submitted by Halvorsen’s traffic engineers also show a 130-foot southbound right turn lane on Greenville Highway across from Copper Penny Street and a right turn lane from White Street into the store parking lot. Plans show that Greenville Highway and White Street bordering on the supermarket will be milled and repaved.