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County: Publix on S.R. 510 ‘still moving forward’

STORY BY RAY MCNULTY (Week of March 7, 2024)

Island residents driving past the site of the planned Publix-anchored shopping center on State Road 510, just east of U.S. 1, might’ve noticed there are no signs of construction there.

That’s because the developer was still working with Florida Department of Transportation engineers last week to finalize the design and signalization of the intersection of S.R. 510 and Harbor Isle Way, which is the main entrance to the plaza.

“I’ve spoken with the developer, and he has a fully signed lease with Publix,” said Ryan Sweeney, the county’s chief of current development. “The signalization appears to be the last hang-up.

“I believe the building permits are issued and ready to go, so as soon as FDOT gives the final go-ahead, we will release the site plan,” he added. “I can’t give you an exact timeline, but the project is still moving forward.”

Construction of the shopping center was initially expected to begin this past fall, but the permitting process wasn’t complete. Barring any further delays, Sweeney predicted the developer would break ground this spring, possibly the summer.

Publix regional spokesperson Lindsey Willis, responding to an email from Vero Beach 32963, wrote that the company had “no additional information to share at this time about that location.”

The new 45,000-square-foot Bridge Marketplace is to be built adjacent to DiVosta Homes’ 270-roof Harbor Isle community now under construction on the east side of U.S. 1, just south of State Road 510.

In addition to a 34,000-square-foot supermarket, which Publix officials expect to serve residents on the northern tier of the barrier island, the development’s plans include a liquor store, four other retail spaces, and a bank with drive-thru service.

Island residents, particularly those who live in and adjacent to Orchid and regularly travel along S.R. 510, have expressed concerns to this newspaper about the likely increase in vehicular traffic on an already-congested roadway, especially approaching the U.S. 1 intersection.

However, Sweeney said the Publix project already has been approved by the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission, which carefully reviewed a traffic study that met the requirements imposed by both the county and FDOT.