MONCKS CORNER — Getting to the grocery store was always a hassle for Cassandra Brunson.
It took almost 30 minutes for the Foxbank Plantation resident her to get to the nearest grocery store from her home, just south of downtown Moncks Corner.
A year from now, it should be just a five-minute drive for Brunson and her neighbors.
Atlanta-based real estate investment firm Branch Properties has broken ground on Moncks Corner Marketplace shopping center, which will be anchored by a 48,387-square-foot Publix supermarket.
Construction on the recently acquired 9-acre site on U.S. Highway 52 and Cypress Gardens Road will be completed in June 2022, with the grocery store set to open in the fall.
In addition to the Publix, the 75,267-square-foot development, when completed, will host about 15 to 20 other tenants with a mix of retail, restaurant and service-oriented businesses.
“This will be such a blessing,” Brunson said. “There are no grocery stores around here. You either have to drive to Moncks Corner or go down to Goose Creek to find a grocery store. To have a grocery store just outside the neighborhood will make everything so much more convenient. I can’t wait for next year to get here.”
More than 4,000 new homes are planned for Moncks Corner, many of them near Moncks Corner Marketplace, which is about 8 miles south of the traditional core of the Berkeley County town.
"The area is definitely an underserved market from a grocery standpoint and it's a high-growth corridor," said Branch official Jesse Shannon. "One of the main reasons we were drawn to this particular site was the growth in the area. We felt like it was in the path of growth for suburban Charleston and Berkeley County based on the underlying demographic fundamentals. We feel like this is a great opportunity to introduce Publix to this market."
Having a grocery store as an anchor for the new retail center was a priority for Branch Properties, Shannon said.
"It’s critical for us to have a grocery store as the primary tenant for a project like this," Shannon said. "We’ve been doing retail developments like this for 45 years. We only develop retail centers with a dominant grocery store as our lead tenant. The (Moncks Corner) Marketplace was just an extension of that investment philosophy and business plan."
Northwest of the grocery store development sits Foxbank Plantation, where 2,422 housing units have been approved. About 1,000 more remain to be built.
"This has been a project years in the making," said Moncks Corner Mayor Michael Lockliear. "The developers were finally able to land a big-name grocery store. I know the folks down in the Foxbank community are going to be very happy. The Highway 52 and Cypress Gardens Road intersection is growing faster than anyone anticipated — the whole area is exploding. This was a much-needed retail center."
The Highway 52 corridor between Goose Creek and Moncks Corner has become a popular destination for homebuilders over the past few years.
Beazer Homes made its second Berkeley County land purchase in the past year in July.
The Atlanta-based builder bought a 75-acre wooded site adjacent to the new shopping center site for $3.36 million. The project will feature 105 single-family homes.
A 512-acre tract near Goose Creek that real estate developers have been eyeing for years was part of a $4 million deal in late June. Rye-Build LLC of Tallahassee, Fla., purchased the property along U.S. Highway 52 in unincorporated Berkeley County on June 30.
A 788-acre tract near Cane Bay Plantation changed hands in a sale for nearly $15 million in July.
Daniels Lake LLC, an affiliate of Charleston-based Gramling Brothers Real Estate & Development, bought the parcel just west of U.S. Highway 17A for $14.75 million.