Friday, April 19, 2024

Work on planned Publix in Oak Island could be pushed back three months due to unforeseen circumstances

According to Oak Island's original development agreement with the developer of a planned Publix on East Pelican Drive, road work to close a portion of 50th Street is supposed to begin by the end of this month.

The developer of the Oak Island Marketplace, a planned retail space featuring Publix, are asking for an amendment in its original development contract with the Town of Oak Island. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Publix)
The developer of the Oak Island Marketplace, a planned retail space featuring Publix, are asking for an amendment in its original development contract with the Town of Oak Island. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Publix)

OAK ISLAND — Oak Island’s development agreement between Publix’s developer could get pushed back three months due to unforeseen circumstances.

On Tuesday, Oak Island Town Council will vote to amend the town’s development agreement with Hapern Enterprises, LLC, related to the development of the planned Oak Island Marketplace.

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The agreement, first signed in March 2017, grants Publix ownership of two public and town-maintained right-of-ways: a full block of Southeast 51st Street and a portion of Southeast 50th Street.

Publix’s plans take up a majority of three blocks in Oak Island, just a few hundred feet from the oceanfront. Halpern Enterprises’ plans show the Florida-based grocery chain will face East Pelican Drive.

The grocery store will take up 28,800-square-feet, with 7,000-square-feet of additional retail space adjacent to the anchor building.

To accommodate the developer’s plans, Oak Island councilmembers agreed to title the portions of 50th and 51st Streets to Halpern Enterprises last year.

At the final Feb. 16, 2017, public hearing, no one spoke in opposition to the project. Councilmember Sheila Bell was in favor of the development but was opposed to closing the portion of SE 50th Street.

Change in plans

According to the original development agreement, Halpern Enterprises is supposed to begin road work by Jan. 31 on the select portion of 50th Street. This section would then be closed to the public.

But, on Jan. 2, Halpern Enterprises reached out to Oak Island’s planner, Jake Vares, and asked to amend the agreement.

Halpern Enterprises hopes to push the agreement back three months, and begin work on the road on April 21, 2019. Work would continue for 18 months, according to the contract.

The developer cited unforeseen circumstances as a reason for the delay. Flood zone designations on land where the Oak Island Marketplace is planned recently changed, from a higher risk category to a lesser one, the request states.

Though these flood zone changes have been available for years and went into effect this summer, Halpern Enterprises cited them as one reason beyond its control. The developer also cited the store’s non-prototype design.

Oak Island Town Council first heard about the official pitch to turn the town’s old campgrounds into the retail center in January 2016. Brunswick County’s retired economic development director, Jim Bradshaw, represented Halpern Enterprises and presented the plan. The new Publix will be not as large as the company’s standard, Bradshaw told councilmembers, and will have a “beach feel.”

Oak Island’s Publix will feature more packaged foods, a larger deli department, a floral department a hot bar, salad bar with indoor and outdoor seating, and a coffee shop, Bradshaw said.

Oak Island’s Town Council will vote to amend the development agreement on Tuesday. If the Council does not agree to amend the agreement, and Halpern Enterprises breaches its contract, the town would regain ownership of 50th Street.

Publix's developer, Halpern Enterprises, LLC, owns nearly three blocks of near-oceanfront property in Oak Island. Red-shaded areas represent land owned by Halpern Enterprises, and blue-shaded portions of 50th and 51st Streets are currently set to be closed to the public according to the developer's plans. (Port City Daily graphic/Johanna Ferebee, Courtesy Google Maps)
Publix’s developer, Halpern Enterprises, LLC, owns nearly three blocks of near-oceanfront property in Oak Island. Red-shaded areas represent land owned by Halpern Enterprises, and blue-shaded portions of 50th and 51st Streets are currently set to be closed to the public according to the developer’s plans. (Port City Daily graphic/Johanna Ferebee, Courtesy Google Maps)

Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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