Wellington Board OKs Larger Publix Stores In Two Plazas

Wellington’s Architectural Review Board examined plans for the retrofit of two local shopping centers on Wednesday, May 18 and approved designs for two larger Publix supermarkets — one to replace the existing Publix store in the Courtyard Shops and another to replace the existing Fresh Market store in Wellington Green Square.

Regarding the existing Publix store at the Courtyard Shops, the plan is to demolish the current store at the corner of Greenview Shores Blvd. and Wellington Trace, and then build a new, larger store.

Originally built in 1991, the 13.29-acre Courtyard Shops plaza includes a main inline building, one standalone building and five outparcels with three banks, one gas station and a recently renovated McDonald’s restaurant. The plaza underwent a facelift in 2009 that modernized its appearance.

The current site plan amendment razes the existing Publix structure and the retail bays immediately adjacent to it to construct a new, 59,000-square-foot Publix store with an adjacent, Publix-branded liquor store of 2,100 square feet.

Included in the request was a new design for exterior elevations and signage approval. In the plan, the entire structure between Kontiki Restaurant and the Courtyard Animal Hospital would be demolished and rebuilt.

Village staff worked with the applicant on new elevations that met with staff approval, brightening up the plaza with a fresh, updated look. All awnings will be refurbished and will be black in color.

The main Publix sign was requested to be 78 inches tall, which is 12 inches more than the 66 inches allowed by the village code. However, it will be a total of 119 square feet, which is less than the code’s maximum of 150 square feet.

The entry feature wall signs that say “Courtyard Shops” will be replaced by multi-panel monument signs. Board Member Roger Grave de Peralta did not like the look of removing the existing sign lettering but leaving the retaining walls. He asked for additional landscaping at entrances to fill in where the existing Courtyard Shops signs currently are.

Land planner Josh Long with the Gunster Law Firm was on hand to represent Publix. “We had several calls with village staff, and I believe we have come up with a much more aesthetically pleasing project,” he said. “We agree with staff’s recommendations in their conditions of approval.”

Architect Ana Alleguez said that the village will be pleased with the overall look of the plaza once the renovation is complete. “We wanted to blend into the existing conditions but at the same time update and streamline the project,” she said.

Board Member Tom Wenham was impressed by the renovation plans.

“This has been there a long time, and I think it is time for something new,” he said. “This will be a welcome addition to the community.”

The plans to the Publix expansion and renovation at the Courtyard Shops were approved unanimously.

The second plaza renovation on the May 18 agenda was for Wellington Green MUPD B, also known as Wellington Green Square. The proposal calls for the expansion of the existing inline building for a future Publix store at the south side of Forest Hill Blvd. at Wellington Green Drive.

The existing building was constructed in 2006. The space currently occupied by the Fresh Market will be expanded from 21,398 square feet to 38,539 square feet by taking over adjacent bays on both sides and being bumped out in the rear to fit the new Publix store.

Senior Planner Damian Newell presented the changes, which eliminates the existing column design and creates a store that flows seamlessly with the overall existing architecture, designed with a focus on earth tones.

The only sign code deviation is on the main Publix sign, which at 86 inches is 20 inches higher than code allows. Village staff recommended approval with a list of 12 conditions.

Rebecca Miller of Miller Permitting & Land Development appeared on behalf of the owner, Shawnick Wellington LLC.

Grave de Peralta asked why the decision was made to get rid of the existing tower design.

“For us, it was about transitioning smoothly and representing the brand correctly,” Miller said. “It was about maintaining the integrity of the site.”

Architect Bob Weber with MWA Architecture said that moving to a single anchor in Publix changed the need for the existing towers.

“Two towers are to identify entry to two tenants,” he explained. “Now that the tenants will not be there, we decided to put the focus on the Publix.”

The renovation plans at Wellington Green Square were approved unanimously.