Publix today cleared the final hurdle in what was a nearly two-year series of challenges prior to the planned opening on Wednesday, Aug. 6.
The Chattanooga Beer & Wrecker board gave a final OK today to sell alcohol at the North Market Street grocery store.
It's been a long road since the fall of 2012 for the Florida-based chain and its North Chattanooga plans, which first entered the public eye in September 2012 when a then-unnamed grocery store presented a plan to build what appeared to be a suburban grocery store design adjacent to the urban landscape of Chattanooga's North Shore.
Members of the public and the North Shore Design Review Committee challenged the design, calling for a more urban, street-friendly design, before ultimately compromising when pressure was brought to bear from political officials who had already negotiated with Publix to bring the store to Chattanooga.
Publix's attempts to navigate the boards, permits and inspections that stand between Scenic City businesses and their customers has raised public awareness, both about the maze of requirements for such an undertaking and the value of public pressure on officials when such a business receives overwhelming support from members of the community.
More recently, the store twice in one day failed fire inspections before officials brought it up to code.
Developer George Chase breathed a sigh of relief Monday morning, as his more than two-year project finally nears an end. Chase on more than one occasion cautioned members of Chattanooga's North Shore Design Review Committee that Publix could only bend to so many suggestions from board members before the project became unprofitable and therefore would cease to exist.
"I'm ready for it to open," Chase said.
Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.