Members of the Planning Commission and downtown and North Chattanooga residents are welcoming a new Publix grocery on N. Market Street with open arms.
Downtown resident Dale Mabee, commission chairman, said, "My wife told me not to come home if we voted against it."
Helen Burns Sharp, another downtown resident, said one of her neighbors "got goosebumps" hearing the news of the upscale food store.
The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval for a C-7 North Shore zoning for the project on 4.7 acres between Kent and Bush streets. It also must get City Council approval and the nod from the board that oversees C-7 North Shore projects.
The project includes a 46,000-square-foot grocery and 2,500 square feet of shops.
Phil Whitfield of TWH Architects said the design will be a departure from other units of the grocery chain to make it fit in with the quaint North Chattanooga community. He said designers "looked at some older two-story Chattanooga buildings" to get an idea for the design. He said it will have an all-brick design along North Market and a portion of Kent.
It will be sited at the grade of North Market and the rear will "tuck into" Hamilton and Woodland avenues.
The parking lot will be on the north side of the project.
Joe Sawyer said there will be extensive landscaping at the rear, but it will not be high enough to block views of the new Stringer's Ridge Park.
Garnet Chapin, who heads the North Chattanooga Neighborhood Association, said the project is supported "by all of our members to a man and to a woman," though he said there are traffic concerns.
He said residents are urging reworking of the five-way intersection at Dallas Road - possibly converting it to a roundabout. He said a lot of traffic is expected from Hixson Pike headed past that intersection toward the new grocery.
Mr. Chapin said, "On the whole, this is a very positive development."