Milton's first Publix shopping center breaks ground, is slated to be complete next spring
The highly anticipated Publix shopping center in the heart of Milton has officially broken ground and is on track to open its doors to the public by spring of next year.
Merganser Commons at Dogwood Estates, the official name of the shopping center, broke ground this week, according to a press release from Atlanta-based company Branch Properties, which is managing the shopping center. The 66,921-square-foot shopping center will provide Milton with its first Publix, in addition to a mix of other retail and dining options.
New shopping center:Publix will anchor new 70,000-square foot shopping center in city of Milton
"We're obviously excited for Publix to open their first location in the city limits. It's kind of a game changer for our community," said Ed Spears, Milton's economic development director. "Publix does their homework before they select sites to place their stores, and they bring a lot of name recognition and national companies with them, so that should be opening the door for us in terms of growth and the offerings that we have available here."
The Publix shopping center will front Dogwood Drive near the Milton Community Center, one of the fastest growing areas of the city. The grocery store will be 46,811 square feet, and there will be two additional buildings for dining and retail space, totaling about 20,000 square feet. Another 1.3-acre parcel of land is being reserved on the property with up to 7,500 square feet of retail space for future development.
The city began buzzing about the building of the shopping center more than a year ago, although neither Milton nor Publix officials would confirm the grocery story was coming until this past spring. The development was received with open arms by the Milton City Council, which in September 2020 approved a rezoning application for the four parcels of land that will make up the property.
Publix's arrival is indicative of how quickly Milton is growing. Branch Properties said in its press release that Milton was chosen because of its fast-growing population and projections for continued growth through 2025.
"As we look to develop essential, grocery-anchored shopping centers in key markets throughout the Southeast, Milton and Santa Rosa County presents a strong investment opportunity due to its rapidly growing population, ongoing economic vitality and overall enhanced quality of life in Florida’s panhandle region," Branch's Chief Information Officer Jesse Shannon said in the press release.
Not everyone is happy about Publix's impending arrival, however. The complex will be located near several residential neighborhoods, and some residents who live in those neighborhoods expressed concerns during an August 2020 Milton City Council meeting about traffic, crime, environmental issues and other potential side effects of such a large development
Spears said the city and the developer “worked very closely” with the neighborhood's residents during the planning process, even going as far as to remove a side entrance street that was in the original plan but neighbors feared would put too much traffic on a small street.
"Traffic, stormwater and all of those issues have been thoroughly vetted through the planning process to get this development underway," Spears said. "I expect there to be a subsequent increase in their property values due to the high quality of the development and real name recognition, as well as the convenience of having a neighborhood grocery store that they can basically walk to."
Construction is expected to begin within a few weeks, and the complex is slated to open in the spring of 2022.
Annie Blanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8632.