Publix Super Markets isn’t the only national chain to pick the Wilmington area for expansion this year, but it’s one of the biggest and most recent, so far.
“There are other national grocery chains that are looking at our market in addition to Publix,” said Steve Warwick, co-founder and principal broker of Maus, Warwick, Matthews & Co. who represented the seller in the $5.25 million purchase of the land where a Publix will be built off South College Road.
Hansen Matthews, another founder and partner in Warwick’s company, said an improving economy has led to an increase in attention being paid to the Wilmington area.
“For the past two years, money’s been available. Sales have been up so businesses are stronger, lenders are more cooperative with ventures and expansion, and so while we were kind of pinned down for a few years during the recession, that’s now lifted, and I think markets all over the country are going to be responding to pent-up demand,” Matthews said.
Simply put, Warwick said, “they’re coming to make a profit.”
Another Publix is expected to be the anchor tenant of a shopping center planned for the Ogden area. Warwick and Matthews said a lot of national chains shopping for space in the Wilmington area are coming from the restaurant industry.
But food isn’t the only good or service looking to Wilmington as a profitable target.
A franchisee for a 24-hour, co-ed fitness center company signed a long-term lease recently for space in a shopping center off New Centre Drive and South College Road, brokers announced this month.
Anytime Fitness has more than 2,100 gyms throughout the U.S. and Canada and 731 in other parts of the world, according to the company’s website, including at least nine locations in North Carolina, the site says.
The local franchisee plans to open a gym in 7,300 square feet of space in University Centre, said Garry Silivanch, partner and broker in charge of Eastern Carolinas Commercial Real Estate Inc.
“Although this is their first site, it is only the first of many planned for the Wilmington market,” Silivanch said in an announcement.
The Anytime Fitness location will be inside a building near one of the shopping center’s anchor tenants, Lowe’s Home Improvement.
Garry Silivanch and Nicholas Silivanch, partner and vice president of retail for ECCRE, represented University Centre in the transaction and have an agreement with the franchise owner to identify more potential sites in the area, the announcement said.
According to a purchase and sale agreement recorded in June, Virginia-based car retailer CarMax Inc. has nearly 15 acres at 6016 and 6020 Market St. under contract.
“We have identified this area as a good fit for our current growth plan,” said Michelle Ellwood, spokeswoman for CarMax, in an email. The company has 147 locations nationwide.
Ellwood said no timeline for the location has been announced.
CarMax typically invests between $10 and $25 million in each store, she said, and those stores typically have between 200 and 400 vehicles in inventory.
The Cleaning Authority
A local office of The Cleaning Authority, a professional home cleaning service with 190 locations in the U.S. and Canada, will open at 3908 Market St., in Jones Plaza.
Chuck Lydon and Lee Weddle of Coldwell Banker Commercial Sun Coast Partners represented the landlord in the lease transaction.
The franchisee, Wilmington resident Gene Santovenia, said the Wilmington area “is undergoing explosive residential growth. It’s a city that has a lot of professional and middle-class consumers along with retirees, all our core market customers.”