Site plan provided by Birmingham Councilman Jay Roberson.
This site plan shows the proposed layout for the Publix grocery store and other retail property at the corner of Lakeshore Parkway and Shannon-Wenonah Road in Birmingham.
Ross Bridge residents have been wishing for a grocery store in their community for years, and now many are happy to see a Publix proposed nearby.
“I’m excited about it,” said Bridget Roop, who moved to The Hamptons at Ross Bridge from downtown Birmingham about three years ago.
Right now, the closest full-service grocery store to Roop is seven miles away, and it can be a 25-minute round trip, she said.
“We need something that we can get to that’s five minutes away,” Roop said.
A developer working with Publix is hoping to oblige. M.A.B. American Management has a contract to buy 16 acres from U.S. Steel at the corner of Lakeshore Parkway and Shannon-Wenonah Road, which leads to Ross Bridge Parkway.
The principal developer, John Argo, is working with Publix to put a 45,600-square-foot grocery store and at least 22,400 square feet of other retail space there. There should be 10-12 spaces for other businesses on the property next to Publix, Argo said.
“I think it’s going to be super convenient for people who work downtown [in Birmingham],” Roop said. “I’m not going to quit shopping at Target, but it’ll just be nice to have another option.”
Gina Wittig, who lives in the Haddon sector of Ross Bridge, closer to Alabama 150, said the grocery proposed in Birmingham would only be a couple of miles closer to her than the Publix in Trace Crossings. She would love to see a smaller grocery store right in the middle of the Ross Bridge, but she’s still happy to hear about the Publix proposed off Lakeshore Parkway, she said.
“A lot of people in here are really excited about it,” Wittig said.
Lake Cyrus resident Heather Smith said she’d rather see the new Publix in the Hoover city limits so Hoover could get the tax revenue instead of Birmingham, but one nearby in Birmingham is better than none.
Birmingham Councilman Jay Roberson, whose district covers that part of Birmingham, said he’s happy to see this development. That part of Birmingham is a “food desert” because of the lack of grocery offerings, and it should also benefit Hoover, Bessemer, Homewood and unincorporated areas nearby, Roberson said.
“This is a great amenity for people and families in this region,” he said.
Birmingham officials have offered tax incentives to make the project happen.
The deal includes up to $3.3 million of tax rebates over the first seven years of operation of the store, Roberson said. That includes the lesser of $500,000 a year or 50 percent of tax revenues generated by the store for the first five years and the lesser of $400,000 a year or 40 percent of sales tax revenues for years six and seven, he said.
The Publix store is expected to generate $1.2 million a year in sales tax revenues for the city of Birmingham, Roberson said.
It also should generate $9.1 million for the city of Birmingham in the form of building permit fees and annual property taxes, so it should be a big revenue generator for Birmingham, he said.
The project is an $18 million capital investment, including a $2.7 million land purchase, Roberson said.
Though Publix had not signed a lease agreement as of press time, the company’s real estate committee has given its approval, Argo said.
Brenda Reid, Publix’s media and community relations manager for Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, said the company does not comment about or confirm potential store locations until a lease is signed.
Argo said it likely will take about two years to get all the proper approvals and get the store built and opened.