South Broad Street Publix project is in 'jeopardy,' site owner says

This rendering shows the proposed South Broad Street Publix. (Rendering by Hiscutt & Associates)

The owner of a South Broad Street tract in Chattanooga where Publix is looking at placing a store says the project could be in jeopardy after the proposed tenant said it is considering other options.

Landowner Jeff Messinger said Friday he disputes a Chattanooga Department of Transportation (CDOT) statement this fall that site plans for the project are not supported by the community and contradict an urban-focused zoning for the site.

"The feedback we are receiving from the community is in full support of the site plan as presented," he said.

But CDOT Administrator Blythe Bailey said the department was strongly leaning on an earlier recommendation against the Publix plan by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency staff.

"CDOT was reflecting the staff recommendation at that point," he said.

But by the time of the CDOT statement, the planning commission had already agreed to not follow the staff recommendation and voted to grant a zoning variance in favor of the plan to construct the proposed 32,000-square-foot Publix along with small shop space.