Citizens raised only minor concerns throughout the process; the parcels located on Waynesville’s busy Russ Avenue commercial corridor will be rezoned to better accommodate what will be a 50,000 square-foot store and the first significant competition to regional grocery giant Ingles.
Principal developer for Charlotte-based MAB American Management John Argo told The Smoky Mountain News in May that the $20 million project had been in the works for months, and that Waynesville planning staff helped speed things along.
“They have a pretty comprehensive understanding of the project itself, which is why things have gone so smoothly,” he said at the time.
The development could also greatly boost hiring in the retail sector of Haywood County’s economy, adding more than 200 permanent jobs to the area.
The first thing Russ Avenue commuters will see is what they no longer see — The Big Red Barn and The Lodge Motel will be demolished to make way for the new grocer, as will other structures surrounding the site.
Construction is expected to last 18 months once begun, which puts the store on schedule for an opening in late 2018 or early 2019.