Publix to anchor peninsula development

The nine-story 10 WestEdge development coming to the corner of Spring Street and Lockwood Boulevard will house a full-service Publix supermarket on the ground floor of the building’s back side facing the new WestEdge Street.

One of the nation’s top supermarket chains is setting up shop on peninsular Charleston for the first time.

Florida-based Publix and developers of the 22-acre WestEdge redevelopment project announced Tuesday the grocer will anchor the ground floor of the proposed nine-story, mixed-used development called 10 WestEdge at the corner of Lockwood Boulevard and Spring Street.

The full-service, 45,800-square-foot grocery store will face a new street called WestEdge on the back side of the building. It’s expected to open by late summer of 2018 and employ between 125 and 150 workers, according to Publix spokeswoman Kimberly Reynolds.

Smaller retail spaces, including a restaurant, will sit along WestEdge and Spring streets.

10 WestEdge will surround a five-story parking deck with 870 spaces behind multistory housing and office space. The parking will be shared by a future eight-story research and office building called 22 WestEdge set for a parcel adjacent to 10 WestEdge. 10 WestEdge will include 350 apartments above retail and restaurant space. Construction on 22 WestEdge is expected to start by the end of the year with completion in spring 2018.

The site of the new Publix supermarket and nine-story 10 WestEdge building currently is occupied by Crosby’s Seafood at 382 Spring St., which will be dismantled when construction begins in August.

Publix will join Bi-Lo, Food Lion and Harris Teeter supermarkets to serve the peninsula.

Plans for the site, which includes property owned by the city and the Medical University of South Carolina, have been kicking around since 1999, but the last recession put everything on hold.

Construction has already begun on a 230-unit apartment building with more than 1,000 parking spaces called 99 WestEdge across from Joe Riley Park. It will also house ground-floor retail space.

All together, the three new buildings in the first phase of the multiyear development include 580 living units, more than 100,000 square feet of street-front retail and dining space, 135,000 square feet of office and research space, and 2,000 parking-deck spaces.

WestEdge is envisioned as an economic catalyst for the future of the city and expansion of MUSC’s biotechnology research and business initiatives.

“WestEdge presents an exciting vision for a live, learn and earn community, with urbane residences, workplaces and research labs, plus all the amenities that are so important to livability,” said Michael Maher, CEO of HPF Inc, which is overseeing the development of the site.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the addition of Publix marks another major milestone for the WestEdge project and for the city.

“Thanks to our already world-class hospitals and medical district, we believe that Charleston is perfectly positioned to play a leading role in the burgeoning biotech research and development revolution, and Publix’s decision to join the WestEdge community represents a powerful endorsement of that vision for our city and its future,” Tecklenburg said.

Dr. David Cole, president of MUSC, said WestEdge will help attract research talent and companies from around the world and that “the addition of a new grocery store will make healthy food options more accessible for MUSC and for the whole west side of the peninsula, which will help to promote healthier lifestyles.”

At build-out, estimated between 15 and 25 years, WestEdge will be made up of 51 percent residential units, 30 percent research space, 10 percent commercial development and 9 percent enhancements of existing properties.

All told, about 2 million square feet of office, retail and residential space could be developed, providing at least 3,000 jobs.

Gateway Development Services is working with South City Partners, both of Atlanta, and Charleston-based WRS Realty on development of the initial buildings. Gateway also is working with Maher and HPF on the overall master development of the site.

HPF Inc. stands for Horizon Project Foundation. Horizon was the original name of the WestEdge development.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.