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WHAT’S GOING ON? Near the Cracker Barrel, Post Office & Publix Development on US 321

Only one southbound lane is open in front of the construction area at the Publix Super Markets development off of U.S. 321. Photo by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

Expect delays heading south on U.S. 321 in Boone near the old Kmart. One of the southbound lanes is barreled off for a short distance for the construction of a signalized intersection at the Publix Super Markets development.

The southbound sidewalk is also inaccessible in front of the construction area.

The NCDOT issued a driveway access permit on July 5 and construction commenced earlier this week. The permit covers an intersection that will provide signalized access to Publix, the Cracker Barrel, the Boone Post Office and other existing businesses accessed from those areas.

An aerial view of the location of the proposed intersection.

The proposed intersection entrances are planned to be 36-foot wide.

As NCDOT spokesman David Uchiyama informed HCPress.com last week, work began on the post office side of the highway. Weather permitting and any other “hiccups,” Uchiyama said that the contractor expects to conclude the signalized intersection by the end of September.

Publix published the 6.5-acre property in November 2014 for $10.5 million. That was a cool $3.5 profit for the development group that bought the old Kmart property for nearly $7 million in the summer of 2014, when Kmart closed down for good.

The demolition of the old retail store began in April. Demolition is complete, and the foundation of the site is currently being constructed.

The new Publix Super Markets store in Boone, which is proposed to open sometime in 2017, will be about 49,000 square feet in size and feature a drive thru Publix pharmacy. The parking lot will accommodate 250 vehicles, according to plans submitted to the Boone Planning and Inspections department.

The redevelopment is estimated to cost $9 million.
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