Work on new Publix store to start Wednesday in South Broad part of Chattanooga

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

Groundbreaking will take place on a long-planned Publix supermarket in the South Broad area of Chattanooga on Wednesday.

Officials are slated to meet at 10 a.m. to officially mark construction of the grocery store that's also slated to hold small-shop retail space at the Broad Street site that for many years held the Mt. Vernon restaurant.

The 32,000-square-foot Publix was originally proposed more than two years ago on the 4-acre tract.

The developer, George Chase of Alliance Realty Services, initially sought a zoning change from Urban General Commercial to C-2 and then later three variances. But, a number of people indicated they wanted the developer to move at least some of the store up against Broad for a more urban look, along with other changes to the proposal.

Last November, despite pleas from City Councilman Erskine Oglesby, the city's Board of Zoning Appeals refused the developer's plan for the store by a 5-4 vote. In December, the panel voted to re-hear the case.

A compromise was later reached that helped move the project ahead. An agreement by the city and the store's developer shifted the proposed project more toward the street and put the small retail space against Broad, officials said then.

The Mt. Vernon had operated at the foot of Lookout Mountain for 63 years before it closed its doors around Christmas of 2017.