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New Publix to serve Wenonah, food desert areas, breaks ground

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Special to the Times

Birmingham city officials broke ground Wednesday during a ceremony for a new 45,600 square foot Publix grocery store at the intersection of Lakeshore Parkway and Shannon-Wenonah Road.

City officials were joined by MAB American Retail Partners, LLC, (MAB), developers of the project.

“We’re very pleased to officially break ground on a Publix which will address specific needs of the residents in this neighborhood,” said John Argo, principal developer for MAB. “We expect this high-quality anchor and strong location will be beneficial to grocery shoppers for years to come.”

Argo thanked Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Seventh District Councilman Jay Roberson, the City Council, as well as other city and Jefferson County officials for helping to bring the site to making the project possible in the southwestern area.

Bell said the store is a “big step in ending the food desert in this area. We want to thank John Argo, the developer of our new Lakeshore Publix, and his colleagues for bringing this new retail center to the city.
“A number of city departments, including economic development; planning, engineering and permits; and traffic engineering worked diligently with Mr. Argo to overcome several challenges we faced with the site because we recognized the importance of this project for our citizens, especially those in the southwestern area of the city where grocery shopping options have been limited,” Bell said. “We welcome Publix to the neighborhood and look forward to the opening of the store in the months ahead.”

Jay Roberson, Birmingham City Councilor for District 7, home of the new Publix, was an early proponent of advantages the site offered to retail businesses and pushed to bring the project to the Lakeshore location.
“Publix representatives were very enthusiastic about the site when we first talked a couple of years ago,” Roberson said. “They not only saw nearby existing neighborhoods and businesses which offered a solid customer base, but they were encouraged by the potential for the continued growth of the Lakeshore corridor. Publix will be a major factor in our efforts to attract new residents and businesses to the area.”

In addition, the site offers 22,400 square feet of inline and pad shop space and a 1.1 acre outparcel site. Expected to open early 2019, the grocery store will feature a pharmacy drive-thru for the customer convenience.

The store is designed to serve southwest Birmingham, this includes Wenonah, Grasselli Heights, West Gold Wire, and the Ross Bridge community of Hoover, as well as Bessemer, Homewood and other communities off Lakeshore Parkway.
The Publix is expected to generate $1.2 million a year in sales tax revenues for the city of Birmingham, Roberson has said and should generate $9.1 million for the city of Birmingham in the form of building permit fees and annual property taxes.

Publix has more than 60 stores in Alabama, including 10 in the Birmingham area.

MAB American Retail Partners, LLC, is a U.S.-based affiliate of MAB Corporation a privately owned property development company and fund manager that has completed more than $2 billion in projects, including retail, office, multi-family and industrial, at locations throughout the United States, Australia and New Zealand.