BRISTOL, Va. — National arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby is one step closer to opening at The Falls retail development in Bristol, Virginia, according to company officials.

“We are on track and looking forward to getting the store open,” said Bob Miller, corporate communications director for Hobby Lobby. “We are projecting opening in early September.”

The 55,000-square-foot store will be located near ALDI and Lee Highway on 21.7 acres of land recently bought by Birmingham, Alabama-based developer Blackwater Resources.

John Abernathy, president of Blackwater Resources told the Bristol Herald Courier work for the new store has already begun and construction on the building will begin in a few months.

“We are excited about future phases of The Falls coming soon,” Abernathy said. “I cannot confirm anything else at this time.”

Site plans obtained by the newspaper for the two lots purchased in November by Blackwater Resources show what the future of the development could look like going forward.

Lot 23, located across Falls Boulevard from grocery chain ALDI totals 10 acres and shows six buildings in a strip center format with spaces ranging from 8,000 to 40,000 square feet.

Much larger at 21.7 acres, Lot 22 includes the 55,000-square-foot space for Hobby Lobby along with two other buildings, a 53,785-square-foot space and a 62,000-square-foot space.

Publix first had plans to build a 54,000-square-foot store in a proposed shopping center leased and developed by Blackwater along Lee Highway and Clear Creek Road in the I-81 Exit 7 area. It was expected to create more than 400 jobs and include more than 275,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, but development plans were scrapped last July.

The Florida-based grocer plans to open a location in Johnson City and has started running local television ads promoting its brand and products.

Kimberly Reynolds, media and community relations manager for Publix confirmed the grocery chain remains interested in opening a grocery store in the Twin City.

“We’d love to serve Bristol,” Reynolds wrote in a statement. “We are still considering other opportunities in the market.”

zirby@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2567 | www.facebook.com/ZachBHC | Twitter: @ZachBHC

News Reporter | Bristol Herald Courier

Zach Irby is the reporter covering a mix of retail, health and education for the Bristol Herald Courier. He enjoys photography, cooking and spending time with friends and family.

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