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Publix supermarket to anchor retail area of Covington Town Center
Will be in first of two phases included in long-awaited mixed-use development
Town Center sign

COVINGTON, Ga. — Publix supermarket will anchor the retail portion of the Covington Town Center mixed-use development on Alcovy Road.

Joint venture partners The Sembler Co. and Berkley Development today, March 4, announced the acquisition of about 12 acres at Alcovy Road and Town Center Boulevard for construction of the planned retail area of the development.

Construction is expected to begin by this summer and completion targeted for the spring of 2022.

It will be part of the overall 160-acre mixed-use development planned since 2016 to include residential development, hotels, retailers, restaurants and offices on Alcovy Road between City Pond Road and Ga. Highway 142.

Publix will include 48,387 square feet and be the anchor store of the Town Center retail area's 63,000-square-foot first phase — the grocer's second Newton County location. 

The additional 14,400 square feet of small shop space "will offer a complementary mix of services, restaurants, and retail designed to meet the needs of the city of Covington and Newton County’s growing residential and employee population," a news release stated. 

“Needless to say it is going to be a very busy summer on the corner of Alcovy and Hwy. 142,” said David Bernd, executive director of the Newton County Industrial Development Authority.

The Industrial Development Authority posted on its Facebook page that Huey Magoos and Panda Express restaurants and Aspen Dental have signed letters of intent to be included in the project. The letters, however, only indicate they are interested and are not leases.

In addition, Sembler and Berkley are planning the next phase of the shopping center that will add up to an additional 100,000 square feet, the release stated. 

Harry Kitchen, of Town Center master developer The Foxfield Co., said, “The objective for our 160-acre mixed use project is to identify the 'best in class' of each use type, whether it is hospitality, residential, office, restaurant or retail.

“I certainly think the Sembler-Berkley team and Publix fit that description and will bring the highest quality grocer-anchored center to the project,” Kitchen said.

Berkley Development President Mike Cohn said Covington Town Center "will bring a first-class shopping experience to a mixed-used project in an area showing promising growth.”

“We’re excited to work with The Sembler Co. in bringing a Publix-anchored retail center to this project, which we believe will quickly become a staple shopping destination,” Cohn said.

Berkley Development is a privately held retail investment firm based in Atlanta. Cohn has more than 30 years of experience specializing in traditional open-air retail projects.

St. Petersburg, Florida-based The Sembler Co. has developed and managed retail centers throughout the Southeast U.S. and Puerto Rico for 55 years, including 29 million square feet of development and 10 million square feet of leased and managed centers. The company holds a 40-plus year relationship with Publix supermarkets after developing more than 60 Publix-anchored shopping centers throughout the Southeast.

Sembler Senior Vice President Josh Beyer said, “We believe Covington Town Center will be a premier retail destination that will provide modern convenience for the surrounding community."

Covington Town Center also will include three hotels, including Residence Inn, Courtyard By Marriott and Stay Bridge Suites. Ground will be broken for Residence Inn next week, Kitchen said.

Developers recently hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the project’s first apartment complex, called The Cove at Covington Town Center, which will be a 26-acre, $57 million project that will provide 350 “Class A” apartments starting in 2022.

In addition, Covington City Council recently voted for zoning changes for a 275-unit increase in the amount of the Town Center's residential space — from the current 350 units to 625 units. That will allow the addition of townhouse to the residential mix, Kitchen said.

Kitchen told the city council he believed the demand for residential units from workers at area industries would outpace the need for new office space. 

He said he planned to reduce the more than 100,000 square feet of office space planned for the area — citing decreased demand after many employers found their staffs could successfully work remotely from other locations as part of safety precautions during the ongoing pandemic. 

Covington Town Center master plan 2021
The master plan for Covington Town Center is shown. The area in red is set to include Publix. - photo by Special to The Covington News