A request to annex what promises to be the first new major commercial development in Gainesville’s city limits since the beginning of the recession is now on its way to City Council.
Pacolet Milliken Enterprises has plans for a 68-acre development near Interstate 985 off Limestone and Jesse Jewell parkways that will include a 123,000-square-foot grocery store and fuel center, which will likely be occupied by Kroger by February 2014.
The development also promises to have some 400,000 square feet of commercial space, 200,000 square feet of nearby office space and about 300 multifamily residential units.
The company plans to make the retail center look much like the adjacent mill on the New Holland property.
It also plans to offer land to the city for a welcome sign into the city limits.
The City Council will make the final decision on the annexation request in June.
But the city’s Planning and Appeals Board, which makes recommendations on annexations to City Council, unanimously endorsed the proposal Tuesday night.
“I feel like this development is a shot in the arm for this side of the city of Gainesville,” said board member Dexter Stanley.
Michael D. McNicholas, a spokesman for developer Carolina Holdings Inc., was hesitant to say Tuesday whether the grocery store anchoring the development would be a Kroger.
Previous city planning documents included the name of the store, but a more recent document is more generic at McNicholas’ request.
While he did not confirm the name of the store, McNicholas said his request not to be more specific was to allow for flexibility in concept plans submitted to the city.
“We’re not reporting at this time that Kroger will be the tenant — officially,” McNicholas said.
Whatever it might be, city planning board members said they were “excited” about the possibilities Tuesday.
As the board gave its stamp of approval, Chairman Dean Dadisman said he expected City Council to approve the request next month.
“I hope to conduct business over there,” Dadisman said with a laugh.