The beginnings of one of the private roads for the townhouse portion of the South Alex project.
The long search for a grocery store to anchor the South Alex development appears to be over.
A representative from Combined Properties, the developer of the South Alex project, announced Friday at a Northern Virginia Builders Association event that his company was in negotiations with a grocer.
So who is it? Combined isn’t saying until the lease is signed.
“Until then we’re going to keep the name close to vest,” Combined’s Justin Johnson said Monday.
Johnson said the deal could be formalized as soon as 3-4 weeks from now.
A view of the front of the South Alex mixed-use development, which will be built at the intersection of North Kings Highway and Route 1. (Combined Properties image)
The Fresh Market, a North Carolina-based grocer, had been interested in the putting a store in South Alex, which will be located at the site of the old Penn Daw Shopping Center and will consist of 400 apartments, 41 townhomes and 44,000 square feet of retail space. But The Fresh Market decided to go in another direction last summer, bringing demolition of the old plaza to a halt.
Since then demolition was completed and work on the early stages of the townhouse part of the project started, but there’s been little news in the way of finding a new anchor tenant.
Finding a grocer was especially crucial to the overall progress of the South Alex project, Johnson said, because the financing of South Alex’s apartments and retail space is dependent on it.
“It really is a required step to move the project,” Johnson said. “If all goes as planned, we will have a shovel in the ground by late 1st quarter 2018.”
The townhomes at South Alex are not dependent on the grocer, and Johnson says the first phase of that project has been moving along this summer. Contractors have installed much of the infrastructure needed to support the townhomes, which will sit at the back of the property away from North Kings Highway.
Combined’s goal is to finish the prep work for the townhomes by December, and then they’ll deliver the lot to a townhome builder. Johnson said “a committed buyer” is already in place.