Residents who shop at the Publix on Lady's Island could get a more spacious, modern grocery store within a few years.
Conceptual designs for a 54,000-square-foot store have been filed with the city of Beaufort and are being considered by design and planning committees. It would replace the 37,000-square-foot space at the intersection of Sea Island Parkway and Sams Point Road that the supermarket chain currently leases.
The new location at 12 Inlet Road would be just across Sea Island Parkway It also would have two 1,200-square-foot stores on the side of the building in keeping with the city's desire for multi-use buildings on Lady's Island, according to city planner Lauren Kelly.
Developer Paradise Ventures has discussed the plan with the city's Office of Civic Investment.
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An abandoned home and trees would have to be removed for the construction, but Dave Mattson, of developer Paradise Ventures, said efforts will be made to preserve as many trees as possible and incorporate them into parking lot and site designs using plant islands.
The building will include a larger parking lot with about 240 spaces, which Mattson said would be in a more traditional, spacious design than the current lot. It would have entrances from Lady's Island Drive, Inlet Road and Ferry Drive, according to the plans.
Last week, the city's Design Review Board discussed concerns -- including traffic flow and stores access -- with Mattson and Ryan Lyle of architectural firm Andrews and Burgess.
Preliminary drawings indicate the building will have a tan, stucco exterior with burgundy and green touches.
"They're definitely doing it to build a bigger, better store," Mattson said.
Attempts to reach a manager at the current Publix, built in 1998, according to Beaufort County property records, were unsuccessful.
Mattson said Publix intends to own the new store.
It's not clear what would happen to the current leased space, which was built despite protests from some in the community about tree-cutting and other concerns. Construction proceeded after plans were altered to reduce the store's footprint.
In 2007, a proposal to build a Publix on St. Helena was scrapped after a letter-writing campaign by opposed residents.
Mattson said the plan is to build the new location "as fast as we can." He was optimistic Wednesday that plans could be approved this winter and that construction would begin in mid-2013.