A major developer is looking at the Supply area as a potential site for what would be the largest shopping center in Brunswick County, an economic development official said Monday.
Part of Supply, along with U.S. 17 and Village Road in Leland, Main Street and Holden Beach Road in Shallotte, and N.C. 133, N.C. 211 and Long Beach Road in Southport, made up the focal points of a retail study that the county’s economic development panel commissioned earlier this year.
Lacy Beasley, vice president of business develompent for Retail Strategies, the firm hired by the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission to complete the retail market research, presented some of the findings Monday.
“Retail, through the recession, started to gain a lot more interest among industrial development boards,” Beasley said before presenting the study, which was paid for with $30,000 from the Brunswick County Economic Development Foundation. “I would argue that retail is perhaps the most dynamic of all the commercial real estate sectors.”
To an audience of local government and economic development officials and development industry professionals, Beasley emphasized one of the study’s conclusions related to shopping center activity and ways to recapture the dollars lost when residents travel to Wilmington or Myrtle Beach to do their shopping.
"If Brunswick County could support a regional shopping center that would locate in Supply or Shallotte, they would pull from a much larger regional trade area,” the report says.
One project being discussed could help address Brunswick County's retail dearth.
Developers of the potential center in Supply have not submitted any site plans to the county’s planning department so far. They are just starting to see whether the area, around the intersection of U.S. 17 and N.C. 211, would draw the necessary retail tenants, said Jim Bradshaw, executive director of the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission.
Brunswick County as a whole, the Retail Strategies report concludes, is underserved in certain retail categories and, as a result, could support additional stores and restaurants. Potential retail prospects for a regional center could include national pet stores, Hobby Lobby and Hibbett Sports, among a long list of businesses that fit the needs associated with Brunswick's demographics, the report says.
“What we’re hoping is that this study will lead to communities in Brunswick County hiring a firm to do more in-depth analysis of what it would take to encourage additional retail development,” Bradshaw said.