Branch Properties continues to capitalize on the demand for grocery-anchored retail with the acquisition of land for Limestone Marketplace, an approximately 76,800-square-foot project in Gainesville, Ga. The company purchased 14 acres for the suburban Atlanta development, which will feature Publix Super Markets as its anchor tenant.
Limestone Marketplace will sprout up at the intersection of Limestone Parkway and New Holland Way, roughly 2 miles from downtown Gainesville and 50 miles northeast of Atlanta’s central business district. Nearly 55,000 square feet of the center will be dedicated to Publix, while the remaining 21,800 square feet will serve as inline retail space, paving the way to welcome restaurants, service providers and the like. Additionally, hopeful retailers will be able to compete for three outparcels, one of which spans more than three acres.
Branch plans to commence construction of Limestone Marketplace in the spring of 2023. The real estate investment and development firm has high expectations for lease-up, as it attests to having already experienced notable demand for space.
The grocers have it
Limestone Marketplace’s high position on potential tenants’ radar is no fluke since the project has location on its side. “The [Atlanta] region’s fastest-growing pockets of affluence, concentrated in the northern suburbs, unsurprisingly will garner an outsized share of new retail demand,” according to a fourth quarter 2022 report by KW Commercial.
The call for retail in the suburban areas can be attributed to certain robust fundamentals across metropolitan Atlanta. As noted in the KW report, the region benefits from annual population growth that, for the last 10 years, has been twice that of the U.S. average on a percentage basis. Additionally, median household income in Greater Atlanta has surpassed the national average.
Limestone Marketplace is also the right kind of development for the current market climate. “Grocery-anchored shopping centers in suburban and exurban counties have been particularly favored by investors of late due to a lack of supply compared to historical norms and strong demographic growth,” as per the KW Commercial report.
Branch has been active in expanding grocery-anchored inventory across the southeastern U.S. for the last year. In 2022, the company purchased the 57,700-square-foot Wynnehaven Plaza, a Publix-anchored project in Navarre, Fla. Branch also opened Merganser Commons at Dogwood Estates, a 66,900-square-foot shopping center that holds the distinction of being the first Publix-anchored retail site in Milton, Fla. And in Summerhill, on Atlanta’s Southside, the company will soon deliver Summerhill Station, an 87,000-square-foot retail development that also counts Publix as its lead tenant. Branch expects to deliver Limestone Marketplace in the second quarter of 2024.