Publix plowing $400M into Greensboro distribution center
By Alyssa Pressler
With its stores blanketing Florida, supermarket chain Publix can’t head south unless it expands into the Caribbean. So it is moving northward, and a $400 million investment in Greensboro will play a key role in the expansion. A new distribution center, slated to open in 2022, is expected to employ 1,000 by 2025, with salaries averaging $44,000 a year.
“Publix is such a notable company,” Greensboro City Manager David Parrish says. The Lakeland, Fla.-based company had 2017 sales of nearly $35 billion. “It certainly helps to have them make a choice to come here. I think it will give us recognition as we continue to pursue other projects.”
With interstates 40, 85, 73 and 77 running through the area, the Triad is an important hub for distribution. Harris Teeter, the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and O’Reilly Auto Parts are among the many enterprises that operate centers in Greensboro.
Publix chose the Gate City after months of negotiation and scouting by company executives, who had also targeted Cherokee County, S.C., for the operation. Incentives helped seal the deal, with Publix eligible to receive as much as $15.9 million from the state, including tax breaks, utility grants and training programs. City and county officials also approved as much as $38 million in property-tax reductions and site improvements over the next decade, provided the company hits investment and hiring targets. The 1.8-million-square-foot project is in a mostly undeveloped part of east Greensboro controlled by developer Roy Carroll.
The nation’s biggest employee-owned company, Publix had 38 stores in North Carolina, 42 in Tennessee and 10 in Virginia as of mid-September, compared with 788 in Florida. Its northernmost distribution center is in an Atlanta suburb. With the new Greensboro site, the supermarket chain will be poised to expand into Maryland, Pennsylvania and other Northern states.
Publix’s reputation as a supporter of local initiatives also impressed Guilford County officials. “They’re very active in lots of nonprofit organizations, and they put a lot back into the community,” says County Commissioner Alan Branson.
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