In the Page Auditorium on Wednesday, March 3, Scottsboro Mayor Jim McCamy announced that a Publix will be coming to Scottsboro.
The national retailer will be housed in a new shopping development, spearheaded by the White Development Company, to Scottsboro. Publix, the development's primary tenant will take up 45,000 square feet of the total 80,000 square feet and has the potential to create 200 new jobs.
"This is going to be a transformative development," said McCamy, who emphasized that businesses like Publix function as draws for future projects in the city and he sees this as the beginning of a domino effect of businesses coming to Scottsboro.
McCamy added that the roughly $30 million-dollar retail investment by White Development positions Scottsboro to benefit from the continued growth in surrounding areas such as Huntsville and Chattanooga, while attracting new business.
Publix has not officially signed the lease for the property yet but is expected to do so shortly.
"We're proud and pleased to be here today and the overwhelming support of the city has made this possible," said Jim White, the president of White Development, during the announcement on Wednesday.
White also stated that his company has plans for two more national retailers to occupy space on the site and expects they will be able to announce the other tenants within the next 30 days.
The project has been in the works for six years, according to White, and he expects to break ground on the Publix sometime in September or October. White stated that he expects the project will be completed between July and September of 2022.
White projects that the initial shopping center will be completely filled by the time it opens in 2022. He also stated that it is likely that the out-parcels of land attached to the retail center will begin to fill three months afterwards.
According to McCamy, Publix has been requested by Scottsboro citizens for years based on citizen request for the grocery retailer, and he hopes that it will foster further development in the area.
White stated that when developing the design for the shopping center his company, based in Clearwater Water Florida, focused on carrying over materials utilized in downtown Scottsboro to inform the look of the shopping center and make it something citizens will be proud of in their town.
"We asked our architects to go looking downtown and copy some of the materials and we put our best foot forward in trying to bring downtown out to this project," said White.
White also emphasized that the project was able to be completed because of the willingness of the city and council to work with his company throughout the process.
"I've never had a better experience than with the city of Scottsboro," said White.
He continued to say that it was because everyone in the region was willing to work to make a deal. The developer added that the partnership with the city allowed them to focus on the minor details to better improve how the shopping center will look from the road — something he hopes will foster interest in nearby real estate development.
He emphasized aspects such as lowering the parking lot lights and designing a barrier wall to build out the area and improve the look.
"We have a great example of a community partnership between the city council and White Development," said McCamy.
According to the mayor the city is already seeing a large amount of interest in developing the space around the Publix for both retail and residential projects.
During the event, Dr. Jay Reyes, the superintendent of the Scottsboro City School System, said the development will likely also positively impact the school system and noted that he is excited about the opportunity for the school system to work with Publix to provide further opportunities to students.
"It will certainly affect us in many, many ways; this will certainly be a great thing for us," said Reyes during the announcement.
City Council President Richard Bailey said that the project places Scottsboro on a great trajectory for attracting future developers to the city.
"Now that developers see that we're willing to work with them, it just snowballs," said Bailey after the announcement. "This is definitely a home run."