The Kroger grocery store at the new Shelter Cove Towne Centre will open Dec. 11, a month earlier than expected, according to mall manager Roni Allbritton.
"We really were playing it safe by saying January," she said. "Thankfully, everything happened on schedule, and we can open on time."
The 87,588-square-foot Kroger will be the largest grocery store on Hilton Head Island, according to Beaufort County property records.
The store will feature a Starbucks coffee kiosk; Murray's Cheese shop; a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating; sushi; a walk-in beer cooler; a "growler filling station," where shoppers can fill up jugs with draft beer; a resident wine expert; a drive-through pharmacy; and an outdoor bicycle-repair station.
It will also have a gas station, which will open a few days before the grocery store, Allbritton said.
She said the store will capitalize on a mid-island market that lacks an affordable grocery store.
Whole Foods Market, an upscale grocery store based in Austin, Texas, announced plans in October to move into the recently vacated Piggly Wiggly near Shelter Cove by mid-2014.
Islanders' familiarity with the Kroger brand won't hurt sales either, she said.
"It's based in Cincinnati, Ohio -- where a large part of our mid-island market is from," she said. "They know the Kroger name."
Attempts to reach Kroger representatives Wednesday and Friday were unsuccessful.
The store will anchor the new Shelter Cove Towne Centre on William Hilton Parkway.
The 42-acre outdoor shopping center is at the site of the former Mall at Shelter Cove. It will include several single-story shops, cafes and restaurants and the existing Belk department store.
A handful of tenants have committed to leasing space at the new shopping center, including Jos. A Bank, already at the mall; a SERG Group restaurant; Heritage Fine Jewelry; and Jake's Wayback Burgers.
Allbritton said more tenants will be announced in coming weeks, and mall construction is on schedule for completion in February.
A final phase of the project will add 210 apartments east of the mall with views of Broad Creek.
A relocated, five-acre park will bisect the shopping center. The Town of Hilton Head Island has agreed to split the park's cost -- expected to be about $4.5 million -- with the developers.
"The park should be finished by next year," Albritton said. "And we're shooting for a 2015 completion date for the apartments."
Follow reporter Dan Burley at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.