Though many new businesses recently opened or are planned for Columbia County in the coming months, a new phase for a major Evans shopping center might start later than anticipated.
Mullins Crossing developer Frank Mullins said in September that construction on a second phase of the retail center anchored by Hobby Lobby should start before the end of the year. Not so fast, said county plan review manager Kevin Fort, of the Planning and Development division.
"I've had a meeting with them (Hobby Lobby), and we've got a site plan submitted, but that project has been put on hold," Fort said. "I think it will come, but I think they're waiting until after the first of the year."
The second phase is planned to be about 130,000 square feet and includes two out-parcels.
A phone message left for Mullins was not returned last week.
Though Hobby Lobby might not open anytime soon, new restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses are in the works, Fort said.
Site preparation is under way for a Food Lion at Belair and Washington roads, another Food Lion at Columbia and Hereford Farm roads, and a Publix at William Few Parkway and Washington Road. A site plan also has been approved for a Wal-Mart on Lewiston Road near Grovetown, and construction has started on a Walgreens pharmacy in Evans.
A Cracker Barrel restaurant opened last month on Belair Road, a Mellow Mushroom is under construction on Washington Road, and a KFC is planned near Mellow Mushroom, Fort said.
County Commission Chairman Ron Cross recently said that the county needs more midrange restaurants to better compete against neighboring Richmond County for sales tax revenue.
"I think Cracker Barrel is going to help us a lot," Cross said. "They've been knocking it out since the first day."
Also, Fort said his office has approved a site plan for a Chili's in the Marshall Square shopping center on Evans Town Center Boulevard.
"They haven't started work yet, though. I think they're waiting on the intersection light to be put in," Fort said of Ronald Reagan Drive at Evans Town Center Boulevard.
Workers were installing a new traffic signal at the intersection last week as part of a plan to extend Ronald Reagan Drive through Marshall Square to North Belair Road.
Following in the footsteps of Augusta and North Augusta locations, Bruster's Ice Cream added a Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs to its Evans store.
A PeachMac Apple computer store opened recently in a new Evans shopping center across from Club Car on Washington Road, and MishMash Interiors and Gifts opened on Grand Slam Drive off Evans to Locks Road.
Also, Kumon Math and Reading Center of Augusta-Martinez opened last month at 500 Furys Ferry Road. A ribbon-cutting was scheduled for Friday for Foot Solutions, a specialty shoe store in Mullins Crossing, while The Green Way, a store that will sell environmentally friendly products, is scheduled to open Monday across from Fairway Ford in Evans.
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