The City of Newberry’s Board of Adjustment voted unanimously Tuesday to approve an application for development of a large shopping center plaza on the east side of town.
The meeting included no mention of what company was behind the application, but the community was abuzz with speculation that the 55,000-square-foot facility would be Publix.
“All signs seem to point to Publix as the most likely candidate,” Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe said in an interview.
During a brief meeting Tuesday evening at Newberry City Hall, commissioners heard a staff presentation from Bryan Thomas, director of planning and economic development. He said the proposed 55,000-square-foot grocery store and 7,700 square feet of retail space would require cutting down existing trees, but the developer plans to install “extensive landscaping.”
Developer Britt Goodson of Carolina Holdings also answered questions from the board. He said the plan still needs approval from the county, Florida Department of Transportation, and the Suwannee River Water Management District, so the beginning of construction is likely six months away.
The board—comprised of Marlowe and the five city commissioners—then voted to approve the application.
“The motion passes unanimously,” Commissioner Mark Clark pronounced. “You will have a supermarket.”
After the meeting, Goodson declined to say whether the grocery store would be Publix, but he said a public announcement should come soon.
“It shouldn’t be too much longer,” Goodson said, who confirmed that he has done work for Publix in the past. He said he has also done work for Whole Foods, but not Winn Dixie or other grocery companies active in the area.
The new supermarket will be located at Newberry Road and NW County Road 235—which is a stone’s throw from Hitchcock’s Market.
Tuesday’s vote came after the Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously on May 2 to recommend approval for the project.