Confirming months of rumors, Publix Super Markets of Florida announced on Wednesday that they had signed a lease to build a store next to Lowe’s Home Improvement in Kill Devil Hills.
Speculation about who would be moving into the 5-acre lot had been the subject of speculation since Kill Devil Hills commissioners approved a site plan for a grocery store in September. Already zoned for commercial development, the site plan did not require a public hearing.
Although not confirmed until the announcement, the feeling was that the site would be a Publix. The developer, GHK, who applied for the site plan has built two stores in North Carolina for the Florida-based company.
Publix, with a reputation for excellent customer service and employee relations, joins a growing number of supermarket retailers on the Outer Banks. Scheduled for completion in 2018, when the store opens its doors, it will compete against the established stores of Food Lion, Harris Teeter, The Fresh Market and the Walmart Supercenter.
Publix may not be the only grocery retailer joining the Outer Banks supermarket mix.
In late August of this year, restauranteur Mike Kelly confirmed that he is in negotiations to sell the five acre lot that is home to Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern in Nags Head. When he announced the negotiations, he specifically refused to say who the suitor was but did state that the site would not be home to a chain restaurant.
Identical in size to the lot that Publix will be opening, the Kelly property would be one of the last large lots available for commercial development along US 158, the Bypass.
In his August statement Kelly indicated he felt negotiations would be completed by this month, but to date no further information has been offered.
According to Publix the store will be 45,000 square feet, which is currently the average size of a supermarket in the US. Tentative plans call for about 140 employees.