After an announcement in March, a “Publix” sign finally went up Thursday at the site where investors in the Old Register Road Tax Allocation District have long indicated a store would be built for the Florida-based supermarket chain.
Now the sign identifies the site as the future home of Publix and the Eagles Landing Shopping Center. Besides carrying the Publix name, the sign gives a toll-free number for business people interested in outparcel locations to call Watkins Retail Group.
Visible from Veterans Memorial Parkway, the shopping center site is at the corner of Old Register Road and the right of way now cleared for a new street, Tormenta Way.
The site of South Georgia Tormenta FC’s planned stadium complex is on the other side of the Tormenta Way route, nearer The Clubhouse Family Entertainment Center.
At the March 27 groundbreaking ceremony for the stadium, Darin Van Tassell, Tormenta FC soccer franchise president, Clubhouse owner and Old Register TAD lead investor, made explicit what he called Statesboro’s “worst kept secret.” He announced that a Publix “grocery store” would be built on the neighboring property. But no representatives of Publix took part in the March ceremony.
However, Watkins Retail Group, which is expected to develop the shopping center, had forwarded a conditional commitment letter from Publix to Bulloch County and Statesboro city officials in September 2018.
Public road money
With the prospect of the increased property tax and sales tax revenue, Van Tassell and other local investors had convinced Statesboro City Council to create the tax district, devoting up to $4.75 million in property tax revenues from growth there after Dec. 31, 2018 to public infrastructure work in the district, especially road construction.
The Bulloch County Board of Commissioners and Board of Education also agreed to commit a share of their revenue growth to the TAD. But they required a document by the end of 2018 showing the “grocery store” operators’ intent to build it.
Further envisioned development in tracts totaling about 225 acres includes hotels, a theater, professional office suites and loft apartments. All of this, beginning with the stadium complex and the supermarket, was projected by Van Tassell’s group to involve private investment totaling $160.5 million.
A more complete story on the status of the store and the stadium will appear in the Statesboro Herald’s Oct. 12 weekend edition, in print and online.