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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / The new Publix at 3535 Broad Street opened in November as the newest of seven Publix grocery stores in the Chattanooga area. Publix announced Friday it will add aother store by 2023 at East Brainerd Road and Ooltewah-Ringgold Road.

A month after opening another local grocery store on South Broad Street, Publix announced Friday it will add its eighth store in the Chattanooga area by 2023 with a new location in Ooltewah.

Publix officials said they have signed a lease for another supermarket to anchor the Enclave shopping center that will be built on 32 acres at the southeast corner of Ooltewah-Ringgold Road and East Brainerd Road. Chattanooga developer Bassam Issa said Publix will anchor the first phase of a retail complex that he hopes will eventually include about 150,000 square feet, plus nearby fast food restaurants, banks or medical offices.

"This is right in the middle of one of the fastest-growing parts of Hamilton County, and this project and the Food City center across the street are really only the two major commercial developments to serve many of the thousands of residents in this area," Issa said. "This is near where I live, and I've tried to work with the residents in this area to be able to offer the services we want for this community."

Issa said Publix will be a major draw for the area and should complement the Food City shopping center just across Ooltewah-Ringgold Road from the new Enclave.

Publix opened one of its first Chattanooga area supermarkets in Ooltewah in 2009 at Snow Hill and Mountain View and then bought the Snow Hill shopping center three years ago. Publix added a store in East Brainerd at the Village at Waterside shopping center in 2018 and continues to add stores in growing parts of the Chattanooga area.

Based in Lakeland, Florida, Publix is employee-owned and operates nearly 1,300 supermarkets across the South.

Issa acquired 53 acres near where he lives in Ooltewah and has spent the past six years talking with residents in the area and prospective tenants and builders about the use of the land, he said. After initially considering building 72 single-family homes on the back half of the property, he decided four years ago to sell part of the property instead for a Morning Pointe assisted living center.

The first phase of Enclave will be developed next year after one of the existing tenants, Monster Rental Equipment & Supply, relocates to another site by the end of January. Issa said he is negotiating with tenants for about 14,500 square feet of shops next to the Publix in the first phase of the Enclave and he hopes the second phase of the project will quickly follow with another 75,000 square feet of commercial space, potentially anchored by a major fitness or health center.

Issa's Enclave, which is being built by Ooltewah Development LLC, is within a few miles of five Hamilton County schools, including the nearby East Hamilton County High School and Westview Elementary school.

Hamilton County Commission chair Sabrena Smedley said she has been working since 2014 on bringing development for the site that is aligned with what residents want in the area.

"I'm excited to see this project finally get underway," Smedley said Friday. "I think the community is encouraged about the prospect of an additional grocery store and possible new restaurants and shops in the area."

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.

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