Publix to Expand $400M Greensboro-Area Warehouse Project

The grocery chain will add a 1.2 million-square-foot dry goods warehouse to an in-progress 1 million-square-foot refrigerated facility.

Publix Greensboro Distribution Center. Image courtesy of Leo A Daly

Publix Super Markets Inc.’s first distribution center in North Carolina is currently underway just outside Greensboro in McLeansville, and already, the company has revealed plans to increase the size of the $400 million project. Originally conceived as an approximately 1 million-square-foot refrigerated warehouse, the facility will now be expanded by an additional 1.2 million square feet to include a dry grocery warehouse.

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Publix broke ground on its new distribution center in February 2020, roughly two years after announcing it had selected a site roughly 5 miles outside of Greensboro as the location of the project. Given the increase in grocery sales due to the pandemic-induced rise in online shopping, the development has turned out to be a timely endeavor. “Shopping habits have been altered after seven months and probably will never return to their previous baseline,” according to a third quarter 2020 report by Newmark Knight Frank.

Designed by architectural firm Leo A Daly, the first phase of the new Publix distribution facility will provide for the storage of refrigerated and frozen foods. The newly announced addition for dry goods storage will result in a distribution campus spanning more than 2.2 million square feet.

Accommodating growth

Publix has not disclosed the additional cost of the dry grocery warehouse segment of the project; however, this new phase is likely to carry a smaller price tag than the first. As noted in a fall 2020 report by JLL, construction of a new cold storage facility can cost an average of $130 to 180 per square-foot, compared to a conventional dry warehouse building, which can range in cost from $70 to $90 per square foot, excluding land and soft costs.  

Engineering and construction firm Gray has already been providing services for the distribution center development and will assist Publix in bringing the new warehouse addition to fruition. The facility will be the 10th distribution center for Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix, the largest employee-owned company in the U.S., and will support the grocery chain’s expansion in the Carolinas and Virginia. Construction of the entire distribution center is on track to reach completion in the fourth quarter of 2022.  

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