Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer
Ingles Markets purchased the old Walmart property in the Holly Springs Plaza in 2015 and it has sat undisturbed ever since. The town of Franklin approved a water and sewer allocation for the property in March, but at that time, Ingles Markets Chief Finance Officer Ron Freeman said there weren’t any specific plans to be announced. On May 27, Ingles Markets, Inc. submitted an application for Special Use Permit to the Town Planning Board. The board reviewed the application and on Monday, July 20, made its recommendation.
The Town of Franklin Planning Board unanimously approved a special use permit for Ingles Markets for the development of a new Ingles in the Holly Springs Plaza off 441. Town Planner Justin Setser said the board approved the permit 5-0, which will send the permit to the Franklin Town Council in August.
The request from Ingles says the grocery store chain plans to redevelop 19.92 acres at the site of the former Wal-mart Shopping Center. The development plan is to build a grocery store, retail shops, car wash, and a six-pump gas station. The current Unified Development Ordinance calls for 1,026 parking spaces for the square footage but at Ingles’ request and after a traffic impact study was complete, the planning board recommended that this requirement be relaxed to allow 584 parking spaces.
A neighborhood compatibility meeting was held on June 10 for property owners within 400 feet of the parcel, and had five people attend. No requests were made to Ingles at that time.
Based on the permit approved by the planning board, Ingles intends to demolish all the existing buildings within the Holly Springs Plaza property and redevelop the area. The current shopping center is 135,133 square feet and Ingles is proposing building back 179,153 square feet. The property will have six structures with a total of 18 units proposed. Ingles is also proposing keeping the two access points to the property and adding a third access point off of Hyatt Road as well as a single lane in-bound access point of 441.
Ingles purchased the Holly Springs Plaza property in 2015 for $3.7 million and beyond confirming the purchase nearly five years ago, the chain has been tight lipped on plans for the future. Ingles opened a Super Ingles on the Georgia Road in the Fall of 2017. In addition to the 72,128 square foot shopping center, the property included 14,800 in additional space for retail shops. Since opening in 2017, those shops have remained vacant.
“With regard to tenants at the Georgia Road location, COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on a lot of retail activity. Long-term, we are very optimistic about tenant space at both locations,” said Freeman.