Scott MacLaren, of the Stiles Corporation, explains aspects of the proposed development along Matthews-Mint Hill Road. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

Scott MacLaren, of the Stiles Corporation, explains aspects of the proposed development along Matthews-Mint Hill Road. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

by Derek Lacey / Staff Writer

Mint Hill residents gathered at the public library on Wednesday to hear a presentation by developers of a proposed shopping complex on Matthews-Mint Hill Road.

The property is a 56-acre lot, with only the front 15 acres being developed for use.

The proposed development is a community shopping center, with a large anchor grocery store and smaller retail outlets, enclosing a parking lot in the center.

Along Matthews-Mint Hill Road, the smaller retail spaces will be built alongside a small park, with walkways, seating, and vegetation.

The presentation was given by Scott MacLaren, senior vice president of real estate investments at Stiles Corporation, who presented details about the project, and Chris Isaacs, president of the Isaacs Group, who answered questions regarding zoning and town requirements.

While the intended occupant of the anchor space is being left officially unannounced, it’s understood that the 49,000 square-foot main building will be a Publix grocery store, a company that Stiles has a long and running relationship with.

“I don’t think it’s any secret perhaps who is entering into this market and who we are developing for,” said McLaren. “However at this point in time, the early stages, we’re not allowed to discuss it in open forum.”

Fort Lauderdale-based Stiles Corporation has extensive experience with Publix, going back 25 years, mostly in Florida, where Publix is also headquartered, but in locations throughout the Southeast as well.

Stiles is currently working with Levine Properties to build two new Publix stores in the area, the first is Ballantyne Town Center.

Stiles is having to request for a rezoning of the property, in order to construct a drive-thru for the grocery store’s pharmacy.

Also included in the property are two lots around the perimeter that will remain undeveloped as of yet, but may be utilized later if the need arises.

The main concern of residents is whether or not the project would be sustainable, citing other shopping centers around Charlotte that sit vacant.

“I understand your concern,” MacLaren said. “We do not see that as an eventuality here.” He added that he felt confident about the location and the market for the project.

This meeting was the first step in the process of breaking ground on the project. Moving forward, developers must submit a request for rezoning, which will trigger a public hearing and a final board of commissioners meeting where the decision will be made.

Construction could begin as soon as this Fall, and construction would take approximately 12 months, with the opening of the complex sometime around Fall 2014.