Construction could begin in the next 30 days on a long-awaited shopping center off Limestone and Jesse Jewell parkways in Gainesville.
“We’ve been working with all the various (city) department heads and with the planning department, and we expect that over the next couple of weeks to receive all of our permitting for (starting) grading and construction,” said Michael D. McNicholas, president of developer Carolina Holdings Inc.
Also, “we’re finalizing our documentation with Kroger,” the expected lead tenant in the New Holland development.
For several years, property owner Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc. has looked to turn the 68-acre site, which is just west of Interstate 985, into a new shopping center. The surrounding area is mostly woods or homes making up the historic New Holland community.
Pacolet has stepped on the gas with the project this year, earning a quick annexation approval from Gainesville City Council.
“Jobs, jobs, jobs,” Mayor Danny Dunagan said at one point.
The early buzz on the project was that Kroger would hitch onto the development as a key anchor.
“We’re talking with other prospective anchors and outparcel users, as well, but we’re not in a position to announce any of that and won’t be for a little while,” McNicholas said. “We want to make sure we can solidify everything before we do. It’s a continual marketing operation.”
The project’s first phase will include the grocery store, 20,000 square feet of shops and four outparcels, he said.
“We plan to do both fast-food and sit-down dining restaurants, as well as other neighborhood shopping center-type users,” McNicholas added.
Rusty Ligon, Gainesville’s planning director, said Greenville, S.C.-based Carolina Holdings is “probably within a couple of weeks” of getting its land-disturbance permit so that grading can begin.
Passers-by might have noticed the forested lot being thinned a bit lately.
It’s timber harvesting that’s taking place, McNicholas said.
“That’s the first part of the process and then, shortly thereafter, we’ll be in there full-scale grading,” he added.
If all goes according to plan, the shopping center could start seeing customers in early 2014, McNicholas has said.
At full development, the 68 acres could end up with some 400,000 square feet of commercial space, 200,000 square feet of nearby office space and about 300 multifamily residential units.
Also, the company plans to make the retail center look much like the nearby mill on the New Holland property. It also plans to offer land to the city for a welcome sign into the city limits.
“I feel like this development is a shot in the arm for this side of the city of Gainesville,” said Dexter Stanley, member of Gainesville’s Planning and Appeals Board, in May.