A Kroger Marketplace is still slated to break ground near Grovetown this year, though the plans no longer include reconfiguring William Few Parkway.
Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial is continuing the “due-diligence” phase of a new retail project at Lewiston Road and William Few that would bring the first Kroger Marketplace to the Augusta area. Located just off Interstate 20, the 114,000-square-foot store would anchor a shopping plaza, with adjacent strip center and outparcels for additional commercial and restaurant use.
In October, Columbia County commissioners granted the commercial rezoning of about 23 acres to make way for the 35-acre development. A few months before that, county officials agreed to give $700,000 in economic incentives for infrastructure and traffic improvements to support the project.
Local developers have since been working to purchase several parcels of surrounding property to accommodate the project.
Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial President Mark Senn said they expect to begin construction this summer.
The opening of the Marketplace store is tentatively set for spring 2016, said Kroger spokesman Glynn Jenkins.
Part of the delay stemmed from initial plans that called for reworking William Few Parkway. Developers wanted to close the existing intersection at Lewiston Road and push it back two-tenths of a mile to the Bluegrass and Autumn trails interchange to ease traffic and so that the development would be located on the same parcel.
However, if they chose that option, Senn said the Georgia Department of Transportation would require them to build a median running from the intersection to the new development, which they worried would cause difficulties for emergency traffic and motorists trying to access the shopping center.
Instead, the existing parkway will remain, with the Kroger Marketplace on one side and the outparcels across the street.
“There’s plenty of left turn lanes and right turn lanes to get in and out of the outparcels and the Kroger site,” said Columbia County Engineering Manager Steve Exley. “We’ve required them to put in raised medians in portions of (William Few Parkway) to reduce the left turn movements and make sure traffic is orderly out there.”
In addition, the developers will add through lanes, sidewalks and bike lanes around the development, Exley said.
Those additions are currently part of the T-SPLOST project to widen Lewiston Road and will free up funding for other work to be done along the road, Exley said.