The City of Jefferson has site plans in hand for an approved retail development on the Hwy. 129 Bypass. The anchor store potentially occupying the space remains unknown, but it will not be a Walmart, according to a city official.
“I can tell you I have flat out asked them directly ’Is this a Walmart, is it a Walmart?’ … and I have been assured more than one time it is not a Walmart,” city administrator Priscilla Murphy said.
The Gateway Crossing project — developed by Capstone Property Group of Gainesville and approved by the Jefferson City Council in December of 2019 — is planned for the intersection of the Hwy. 129 bypass and Old Pendergrass Rd., across from Kroger. The site was once considered for a Walmart.
Councilman Mark Mobley recently shared the site plan on his Facebook page, asking citizens with comments to contact the city planning and development department.
Murphy noted that the site plan square footage — 48,848 — indicated for the anchor store “is too small to be a Walmart.” Murphy speculated that a grocery store could possibly locate at the space.
In addition to an anchor store, the site plan for the near 21-acre development calls 11,200 square feet of shops and four out-parcel sites.
Murphy said she is unaware of what business would locate around the anchor store.
“I don’t know what’s going there,” she said. “Especially with COVID, I think some of the stuff that they were hoping to get there, may not be able to get there because restaurants and retailers are not opening or building things right now.”
The site plans are under review by the city’s planning staff.
The site plan does not require approval from the council, though the use of building material not permitted by city codes would require variance approval by the council.
Meanwhile, the city and developer still await DOT approval for a right-in, right-out entrance off Hwy. 129 to relieve traffic volume at the intersection of Old Pendergrass Rd, which is already high. Old Pendergrass Rd. feeds into the city school system approximately a mile and a half away.
But a timetable for the development is uncertain, according to Murphy, since the DOT’s response regarding the Hwy. 129 entrance is a major determining factor.
Murphy speculated that breaking ground by summer “would be a miracle almost if I had to guess.”