The city of Newberry’s new Publix is on the way, and it will be the largest in Alachua County.
A social media post by Bosshardt Realty last week congratulated Teresa Hoffman for selling 9.06 acres on the corner of Newberry Road and CR235, finalizing a space for the Publix. Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe said Publix is planning the new store to be over 50,000 square feet, which is larger than other local stores.
Publix has not yet announced an official timeline and has asked the city not to speculate, but it estimates the store will be open about nine months after a groundbreaking with no date set yet, according to Marlowe.
Newberry’s Board of Adjustment approved an application for the development of a large shopping center plaza at the site in May of last year. The development plan included a 55,000-square-foot grocery store and 7,700 square feet of retail space. Though the board and community speculated the grocery store would be a Publix, the developer remained secretive.
“We certainly all love Pub Subs,” Marlowe said in a Monday phone interview. “I think we all love their friendly, welcoming atmosphere. But beyond that, the economic development that they signal I think is transformative for our town.”
Marlowe said a Publix in Newberry is more than a grocery store. Publix does extensive vetting of an area’s growth rates and demographics before establishing a location there, so this move signals a shift in growth patterns. Marlowe said Publix will likely have many smaller businesses on its heels, following the promise of opportunity.
Newberry has a tense relationship with growth and development. In a comprehensive plan workshop in late May, some residents again expressed their ongoing concern that Newberry could be growing too fast. However, their concerns were less directed toward economic developments like a new supermarket and more focused on the number of new residents and too much traffic.
Last month the Newberry City Commission voted to move forward on implementing impact fees, with a final vote set for next week. The plan involves a five-year process designed to bring in revenue that will cover costs associated with the city’s growth.
Marlowe said the growth has allowed Newberry to appear on the radar for developments like Publix. He said years of welcoming new residents had made people nervous about losing the small-town feeling, and because the economic development had not yet kicked in it was hard to know if the growth was worth it.
“I think that Publix is the reward we get for the growing pains that we've been going through,” Marlowe said. “Now is the exciting time where we get to actually reap the benefits of our growth.”