(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

ATLANTA-Hickory Flat Commons Shopping Center has broken ground in Canton, a suburb of Atlanta in Cherokee County. The 122,751-sf, Kroger-anchored retail center is being developed by Lawrenceville, GA-based Connolly Realty Services Inc.

The construction site location, at the corner of State Route 140, Hickory Road and Batesville Road, was originally under contract with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. However, Cherokee County enacted an ordinance against big-box retail, stopping the development from going any further.

“When we got involved there was a lawsuit between the property owners and the county over this,” says J.R. Connolly, president of Connolly Realty. “We worked with the county to find a development plan that worked for everybody.”

The new site plan includes an 80,000-sf Kroger supermarket with a drive-in pharmacy and outparcel fuel center, Dos Margaritas Mexican restaurant, Platinum Cleaners, Great Clips and Nail Talk, with leases pending for two sit-down restaurants. The project is 75% leased, with shop rents ranging from $20 to $28 per sf.

“It offers a state-of-the-art grocery prototype with lower pricing than others in the area and will also generate a significant number of jobs as well as sales tax and property tax revenue for the community,” Connolly says. Hickory Flat Commons is also expected to benefit from a medical office building being developed by Northside Hospital adjacent to the site, he tells GlobeSt.com.

The total project value is $25 million and is expected to open in November. Collins & Arnold is the general contractor and the architect is Atlanta-based Robertson Loia Roof. Connolly Realty has developed over 40 office and retail projects in the Atlanta area, and is also currently under construction with Dacula Town Center in Gwinnett County.

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