Publix On Its Way To The Set

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Staff report

For years, residents of Delray’s West Atlantic neighborhoods, now known as the The Set, have asked for a place that they can walk to for grocery shopping.

Their wish is one step closer to reality.

Last month, the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency board signed off on a deal that will bring a 25,000-square-foot Publix Supermarket to the Southwest 600 Block of West Atlantic Avenue, between Southwest Sixth and Seventh avenues.

“I definitely support this,” board member Dedrick Strangh said. “I am a huge fan of Publix.”

In 2012, the West Atlantic Redevelopment Coalition (WARC) organized a needs assessment for what was then referred to as the West Atlantic Neighborhood. Community members said one of the No. 1 needs of the area is a grocery store.

“What a night to celebrate,” West Atlantic Redevelopment Coalition chairman Chuck Ridley said. “Of all the things that [WARC] talked about, the No. 1 use for the West Atlantic neighborhood was to bring a full service grocery store. Who would have guessed it would be Publix? It is about time.”

A grocery store was anticipated for the area in a previous project known as Uptown Delray. That project failed to come to fruition.

Now, the board has an agreement with Pasadena Capital, Inc. to sell the 2.75 acre property for $2 million. Upon corporate approval, the store will be operated as a Publix Supermarket.

The project will have to go through the city’s approval process before any construction can take place. An early timeline estimates several years before a grocery store is opened at the location.

Some board members expressed concerns about what the grocery store will look like. They want the design to fit in with the area and not look too suburban.

Board member Cathy Balestriere said Publix has designed locations to fit in with the community they are in. She cited the City Place location as an example.

“I am very happy we are going to have a new grocery store in The Set,” she said.

Board Chair Reggie Cox said he is excited to be able to walk to the new location, which will be located just two blocks from his house.

The rest of the board supported the plan as well.

“It’s good to see Publix coming to town,” board member Daniel Rose said.