As one Publix gets ready to open after a major expansion — another in our area is about to close for similar work.
The Publix store at 1180 Royal Palm Beach Blvd., on the northeast corner of Royal Palm Beach and Okeechobee boulevards in Royal Palm Beach, opens at 7 a.m. July 6 after being closed for more than a year to expand and update the store’s layout, according to signs in front of the store and on the Publix website.
Also confirmed this week by a Publix spokeswoman: The Publix store at 13880 Wellington Trace, on the southeast corner of Greenview Shores Boulevard and Wellington Trace in Wellington, will close July 8 for crews to demolish the building and expand the store’s footprint in the Courtyard Shops plaza.
According to plans for the demolition filed with Wellington’s building department, the new Publix in Wellington will be what the Lakeland-based grocery store chain calls a “55.3 prototype,” a new generation of stores with updated layouts, a mezzanine with seating that overlooks the store and more spacious aisles.
This is the generation of Publix stores that are, in part, replacing the GreenWise brand that Wellington is phasing out, according to several news reports.
What’s new in Royal Palm Beach?
The new Publix in Royal Palm Beach is about 12,000 square feet larger than the previous store, for a total of about 55,400 square feet.
To grow the store’s footprint, some of the inline plaza space was absorbed by the grocery store, with another roughly 6,600 square feet of new space added to the plaza, according to Royal Palm Beach documents.
There will be a new covered walkway across the front of the store that will connect the north and south ends of the shopping plaza, the documents show.
The store will follow another prototype model from Publix, with wider aisles, more enclosed refrigerated space with energy-efficient machinery and an enclosed loading dock at the back of the store.
While the tile mural outside of the store was not saved, there will be a new public art project paid for by the developers and installed on the northeast corner of Royal Palm Beach and Okeechobee boulevards, in front of the shopping center, project agent Janna Lhota with Holland & Knight told Royal Palm Beach’s council in June.
The project received an extension to install that piece of art, which has yet to receive the necessary council approval, at the council’s June meeting. Typically, the art would have to be approved before a certificate of occupancy could be issued.
What’s happening in Wellington?
It’s unclear when demolition will begin on the Wellington store in the Courtyard Shops. Publix representatives have said with similar projects that they expect a store to be closed for about a year. The rest of the businesses in the plaza will remain open.
The store will be expanded from its current 50,100 square feet to about 58,800 square feet, including a mezzanine, according to the approved site plan. There will be an attached 2,100 square foot Publix liquor store attached to the new grocery store, plans show.
The prototype shown on Wellington plans seems to be similar to one that recently opened in Westlake, on Seminole Pratt Whitney Road just north of Seminole Ridge High School.
According to approved site plans, the Westlake store is called a “48.13 prototype.” It’s about 10,000 square feet smaller than the planned store in the Courtyard Shops in Wellington, plans show.
But some of the features are similar to what I’ve read are included with the model being built in Wellington.
The inside of the store is spacious, with wide aisles. The deli counter is an island with a sub counter, an olive bar and a sushi counter that also serves ramen and rice bowls. It’s unclear if all of those features will be included in the rebuilt Wellington store, but media reports from other openings of the same prototype indicate these are pretty standard.
Overlooking the store will be a mezzanine with space to eat and work, according to the plans filed with Wellington. The mezzanine at the Westlake store is above the entrance. Free WiFi is available.
If you ever went into the GreenWise in Palm Beach Gardens at Legacy Place — before it closed in December 2018 — you’ll recall there was a similar mezzanine there.
The Courtyard Shops Publix has a tile mural, but it’s unclear if that will be salvaged. Publix has said in the past that it does not preserve the tile murals that are outside of its stores. The Palm Beach Post spoke last year with the artist behind many of the tile murals, Pati Mills, who said she was happy for the work and she was not sad to see the murals go.
Another new Wellington store
With the announcement in May that Publix would phase out the GreenWise name for eight of its stores, there was some confusion in Wellington: What about the Publix store that is replacing the Fresh Market on Forest Hill Boulevard, near the Mall at Wellington Green?
It’s unclear if that store, at 11600 Forest Hill Blvd., was ever intended to be a GreenWise. I’ve reviewed pages and pages of plans for the project, and I can’t find anything anywhere that mentions GreenWise. I think this may amount to either a rumor, or people assuming that Publix would replace Fresh Market with GreenWise because the store model is similar.
The architectural plans approved by Wellington’s Architectural Review Board last year do not have a GreenWise sign, just Publix.
It’s also unclear if this will be one of Publix’ many prototype stores.
Demolition began earlier this year. The Fresh Market, Kirkland Home and CityMattress spaces were torn down to make way for the new, 38,500-square-foot Publix store, plans show. By tearing down the neighboring spaces, the new Publix is nearly double the size of the former Fresh Market, which was 20,400 square feet.
SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER!
Get on the list now for my free Weekly Wellington Mom newsletter, delivered to your inbox every Wednesday morning with the latest news and things to do in Wellington and the surrounding area.