City unveils major projects: New connector roads, Publix store ‘open the doors of opportunity’ for Troy

Published 4:00 am Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Messenger Photo/Stacy Graning Troy Mayor Jason Reeves unveiled plans for two connector roads and a Publix grocery store development on Monday. The projects position the city for significant future growth, city officials say.

Messenger Photo/Stacy Graning
Troy Mayor Jason Reeves unveiled plans for two connector roads and a Publix grocery store development on Monday. The projects position the city for significant future growth, city officials say.

Two new connector roads and a Publix grocery store development are the “most significant economic development opportunity” Troy has experienced in years, officials said Monday.

The projects were announced Monday during a press conference at Troy City Hall.

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The Publix grocery development, a $10 million-plus development, will bring an anchor grocery store and more than a dozen retail stores with it.

The connector roads, a nearly $10 million project, will extend Franklin and George Wallace drives to Oak Park subdivision and Enzor Road respectively, providing long-desired access across town and opening previously inaccessible areas for development.

“It’s the most significant development opportunity that we’ve had in many years,” said long-time city council president Johnny Witherington. “It’s going to open the doors of opportunity for our community.”

Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said the projects had been in the works since Feb. 2013.

“And this morning at 7:55 a.m., I got the call that Publix had signed the lease to come to Troy,” Reeves said during the press conference. “We know there has been a tremendous amount of talk and speculation … it feels very good to say the word ‘Publix’ out loud.”

Prior to the grocery store announcement, Reeves unveiled plans to develop a pair of major connector roads that will extend Franklin Drive to Oak Park Subdivision and George Wallace Drive to Enzor Road, an $8 million to $10 million project that is “the largest road construction project in City of Troy modern history,” Reeves said.

The connector roads, like the recruiting of a Publix grocery store, were something that he had been told couldn’t be done.

“I’ll never forget that Feb. 2013 morning when I went out there and stepped across that branch,” Reeves said. “People had always told me they wanted to see a connector from Franklin or George Wallace to the other side of town, but it couldn’t be done … when I saw the size of that branch, and I saw that we had a sewer easement, I thought ‘we can do this.’”

The road project will be crucial to the community, he said. “It’s going to take a tremendous amount of pressure off the U.S. 231 and Highway 167 intersection,” Reeves said.

“I’ve seen some traffic counts that show it was estimated as one of the busiest non-interstate intersections in the state of Alabama.”

Reeves said the city plans to let bids for the projects by June with construction starting in the fall and ending by fall 2016.

The connector roads were critical to the Publix project.

“The roads, as much as anything, led to Publix,” Reeves said. “You’ve got to be willing to invest in your infrastructure in order to be able to grow.”

Reeves said the city officials had been working with developers and Publix officials since February 2013. “It’s been a process,” he said of the vetting and site selection work. “Publix puts you through a process, and it’s very arduous … People know if Publix goes into a market, they’re going to be successful there.”

The Florida-based grocery store corporation will open a 45,600 square foot store at the current location of Hillside Mobile Home Park, directly across from George Wallace Drive on U.S. 231 and behind the existing Popeye’s Chicken and AT&T Store locations.

Harbert Realty Services is developing the shopping center, which also includes 12 retail locations and three outparcels.

Bill Ware, vice president for development for Harbert, said the Troy location would mimic the Enterprise store in design and size.

“We’ve been working on this for a couple of years now,” Ware said. “It usually takes that long … and there are many things about Troy that appeal to Publix. We do the same research in all our markets; we’re always looking for markets that are underserved from Publix’s standpoint.”

Factors such as demographics income levels, population and the visibility and traffic flow of U.S. 231 played a role in the decision to locate a Publix in Troy, he said. “Being on U.S. 231 is important. It’s a heavily travelled road with great visibility.”

Reeves said officials plan a formal groundbreaking for the grocery store in January 2016, with the goal of opening the store by Febuary 2017.

“These are two wonderful things in and of themselves, but they pale in comparison to what they will bring to the community as a whole,” he said.