Publix Said Passing on Two Downtown Birmingham Sites

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Publix Super Markets has turned down two store sites in downtown Birmingham, Ala. for unknown reasons, according to local developers. The developers, with RGS Properties, Inc., said they will now begin discussions with other grocers, including organic food shops.

Publix was looking at a vacant Firestone building in Birmingham's city center and a planned condominium development in Lakeview as possible sites for mixed-use grocery developments, according to a report in The Birmingham News. Publix operates stores in similar urban developments in Atlanta, as well as other markets.

Publix offered no explanation for the decision, said developer Dick Schmalz of RGS Properties Inc. He said he is in talks with other grocers, however.

Plans for the Firestone building call for a grocery store on the ground floor, topped with multiple levels of parking and condominiums.

In Lakeview, the possible grocery site is the first floor of a condominium development.

Birmingham leaders have long wanted a downtown grocery store to serve the city center's office worker population and a growing number of urban residents, according to the report.

Publix entered the Birmingham market in 2002, and now operates 13 Birmingham-area stores.
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